Sunday May 03, 2009

Best buying experience ever

Fri night I helped a friend buy a new notebook, at the Apple store in the Hillsdale Mall. It turned out to the best buying experience ever. The guy who helped us - Chris, was awesome. Professional, courteous, knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, he presented options, provided clarifications, mentioned discounts, offered to tutor (my friend is a Mac newbie) while we were waiting for the memory upgrade. In a nutshell, if I would have my own business right now, I'd go back to the Apple store and offer Chris a job.

My friend ended up buying exactly what we came for: 13" MacBook, 24 GHz, 4 GB RAM, MobileMe subscription, a couple of other accessories.

Monday Apr 20, 2009

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis

Change is inevitable. The question is not how to cope with change, but how to embrace it, anticipate the next move and opportunity. Folks working in the computer industry are likely ahead of the curve, since changes in the technology are constant.

Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

United needs to "upgrade" the dinner rolls on the 777 flights

In the last few weeks I flew United to London a couple of times and on both flights the dinner rolls that were served with the food seemed to date the build year of the Boeing 777-200 (ca. 1995-1998). If for some reasons UAL can't serve fresh bread, I suggest they stop (hey, who needs the extra carbs anyway!). I would not mind paying for the meal as long as value is provided.

The other option for United (if they still have a large stock of last century bread) is to donate the rolls to the Pentagon. I am sure it can be used for target practice as ammunition for cluster bombs.

Sunday Feb 01, 2009

The team of destiny

The New York Giants have proved me wrong last year. This year I'll try again to predict the outcome of the Super Bowl: Arizona 31 - Pittsburg 30.

Saturday Jan 03, 2009

Black Swan

I spent the holidays with Malcolm Gladwell, actually I re-read The Tipping Point. So much to learn from the research and wisdom that he presented so masterfully. Another book that intrigued me is Black Swan. My friend Andrei has highly recommended the book and I just purchased it via iTunes. If I manage to stay involved with domestic tasks tomorrow, I may have a chance to listen to the audio book this weekend.

Thursday Dec 25, 2008

Christmas in NYC

I am spending the holidays in NYC with Silvia and the kids. Friends and relatives have also converged into town so the schedule is packed. Today we are going to the MET and Central Park. We are all in need of some exercise after the heavy lifting of food and beverages :-)

The highlight so far ... I've been able to stay away from email and technology!

Tuesday Oct 28, 2008

Epic battle

I just won an epic battle :-) getting wireless to work on my MacBook Pro, running Vista. I finally found this blog, which has info that solved my problem. I've been using Vista on my Mac for a while, mostly to test JavaFX & NetBeans 6.5 which includes the mobile emulator. Early adopters may have to wait a little for the NetBeans distributions that supports JavaFX Script, however the team is doing an awesome job, so it won't be long until we ship.

Thursday Mar 13, 2008

In Boston for a short trip

 

  • Red-eye flight from San Francisco to Logan on United; the airplane staff as in excellent spirits. That was not my case - I am still recovering from the party that Silvia put together last Fri
  • Rented a Monte Carlo - definitely not my favorite car
  • Love the architecture of the houses
  • Hate the weather
  • At the office, Mary just gave a funky looking t-shirt - it has a ... West Coast motif - you could call it Woodstock :-)

Saturday Feb 02, 2008

Super Bowl prediction

Patriots 31 - Giants 21

Giants will be able to run the ball, however they won't be able to stop Brady. The game will likely be close until the 4th quarter.

I am all ready for the party. Time - check, HDTV receiver and TV - check, Snacks - check (thanks Silvia). Right after the game I have to leave to the airport and catch a flight to Munich (on my way to Prague). Kathrine assured me that I have a window seat (46K), but you never know... If I am to believe this seating map, this time we managed to get the absolute last row in the plane. Farther back, I'd have to play Superman :-)

I just wish my Raiders would be playing.
 

Sunday Dec 16, 2007

Another disappointing season

Just came back from the Raiders game. Today they lost to the Colts (21 - 14), and once again disappointed their fans. The game was close, with the exception of the first and last quarters. The weather was brilliant and my friend Stephen was entertaining, as always. The Raiders play at the McAfee coliseum.

After the game I was looking online for some stats and noticed that the Raiders website also uses flash.

<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">
EmbedObject("/flash/hpFlvTopStories/homepagePlayer.swf", "homepageTopStory", "561", "350", "opaque", 'xmlUrl=/Common/HomepageTopStoryXML.aspx?menuId=126&amp;moreVidUrl=/Multimedia/Default.aspx?id=88');
</script>

I wonder what tools are being used by the developers working on this site? The code looks messy, but in the end it works and it looks good. Maintenance is likely a nightmare.
 

Saturday Dec 15, 2007

Getting in the holiday spirit

A splendid day.

In the morning I ran 10 miles at Sawyer Camp (a place, a mile away from civilization, that is truly awesome). I am hoping to exercise every single day in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps I can get in better shape and start training for a more significant trekking trip. I was talking to a friend a couple of days ago about going to the Himalayas. I hope I'll be able to convince him to go with me next year to the Everest Base Camp (17600 feet). I've been also thinking about Mont Blanc. I talked to Petr Blaha about attempting the summit in the summer of '07 and I could not pull myself together. Perhaps I could make this a team event and get more folks involved.

 
On a different note, I went shopping, in the early afternoon, with my eldest daughter and ran into a concert of the Menlo Middle School Choir. The kids were great. They sang a bunch of Christmas and holidays songs filled with joy and enthusiasm. I love it.

Sunday Jul 22, 2007

Presentations 2.0 :-)

The Goal

Use my iPhone to present in meetings to customers/execs/staff

The Journey

  1. Purchase iPhone - done
  2. iPod AV Connector Kit (or just the cable) - done
  3. Figure out a way to export a presentation, which usually is an Open Office or PDF document to something the iPhone understands, such as a QuickTime file or so. A while ago a read about a software called iPresent, that has been used to use iPods as presentation devices, so I may try that. A quick scan of the net yielded a couple of other resources:
    • http://playlistmag.com/features/2005/12/tcoipod/index.php
    • http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/macgems/2005/03/ipresentit/index.php
    • http://www.engadget.com/2004/11/16/how-to-put-powerpoint-on-your-ipod-photo/
  4. Test
  5. Never go back to the notebook for your preso :-)

Saturday Jul 21, 2007

How can you tell when a company has arrived?

Many times I ask myself how companies define success? For most of the public companies, the share price is a direct reflection of their success. Generating cash, market capitalization or the dividend a company pays are other metrics that demonstrate success. I get this, however all of the above sound very "old school". 

How about when the name of the company becomes a verb (e.g. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, has the following definition: google)? How about being featured on the "desktop" of the hottest technology device of 2007 (of course I am referring to Apple's iPhone)? YouTube, is the company I am talking about. It's not that the iPhone would have needed a momentum boost and thus the association with YouTube, but when you've become an icon of popular culture it becomes natural for vendors to want to be associated with success (or the perception of success).

In the web 2.0 era, companies become successful and part of the popular culture within months. The question is whether it will last? The trend, for most of the social networking companies: YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, seems to be an acquisition by established companies that are drooling over the number of users or web traffic these companies claim. Another question is whether the definition of success has changed? Many of the social networking companies have not been in business long enough to prove themselves with the investment community, build a track record, etc. It seems these companies are different than the plethora that was part of the late nineties bubble. Their biggest asset has been the adoption by the average Joe.

I can only conclude that the way we measure a company's success has been redefined. Here is a feeble attempt to quantify it:

  • The company name becomes verb
    • google
  • The company is in the business of saving people time, or make it more pleasurable
    • apple (iPod, iPhone)
  • Anything to do with social networking
    • myspace, flickr, facebook, youtube
If you have any comments, let me know and I'll be happy to expand the list.



Thursday May 31, 2007

Precocious

You read the title and you immediately might have thought of Mozart, Jesus, Picasso, etc. Nope, it is about Alexis and her precociousness that is not welcomed.

Let me set the stage. I have two daughters: 5.5 years old and 5.5 month old and I've been enjoying being the only male in the household (other than the dog ... who is an it :-)) until the other day when my older daughter confessed that she had a boyfriend - Dylan.

Ever since, I've been in complete panic, assessing a range of options from moving back to Romania to becoming and NRA member, buying a dozen Pitbulls, etc. I was not prepared to deal with the boyfriend announcement so for now I might have to get on a SSRI prescription or re-assess my life expectations :-)

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Sunday Apr 15, 2007

London calls for an upgrade

I've recentely attendended Sun Tech Days and NetBeans Day in London. The event was hosted in a splendid location, across the street from Westminster Abbey. James was also there and he knows London inside out, so we got a little bit of history and the inside scoop on restaurants from the guy that knows too much in pretty much any subject you converse about.

So let me get to the point about London and the call to upgrade ... my wardrobe. After the event was over, on Thu afternoon, I thought of taking the opportunity to have tea, in a traditional way, wherelse but at the Ritz. Silvia,  I and a pristine Credit Card, walked full of confidence  ready to take on the tea challenge. And a challenge it was. We walk towards the entrance and the "general" (door man) seemed to ignore us (we later learned why). Hmm, not a good sign, however he did not block us from entering. We made our way into the lobby (which at the Ritz is likely called something else) and we were intercepted by one of the staff. He was impacably dressed and extremely polite. I can't remember his choice of words, however in my ESL translation it sounded something like this: "You are dressed like a savage and look like a gorilla ... dress code calls for jacket and tie, moreover jeans are prohibited and you are lucky I am not flogging you" :-) In all fairness he recommended another tea place across the street, where I barely passed given that I was wearing a sports jacket.

I evaluated the event with mixed emotions. The fact that fashion challenged should not have been such an insurmountable handicap. I should have told the guy about WWII and the fact that he would have spoken German without the help of one million American GIs. And 1917, when they were stuck in a mud trench with no light at the end of the tunnel. Hey, but I am not that kind of guy. We laughed it off and went on to have a great evening.  So now I face a choice, either pursue a more conservative style ala Bill Franklin (who used to live in London), next time time I am London or exclude establishments stuck in the past from my itinerary. If I am really lucky, perhaps I can buy the Ritz one day and change the rules. The only problem is that I may be in diapers :-) by that time and I may be lowering the standards too much for the rest of the patrons.
 

Sunday Feb 11, 2007

Russian recipe for jet lag

I recently came back from a business trip to Prague and St. Petersburg. As always such trips are extremely productive as well as tiring. The latter aspect is also due to the jet lag effect. I spent the last, late night in St Petersburg with the "crew", first at dinner, then later in the hotel lobby for a deep dive in the strategy and that's where I learned about the Russian recipe against jet lag.

In a nutshell, the recipe calls for no sleep & plenty of hydration the night before your flight :-)

That evening, we spent way too much time strategizing and I was left with the option to go to bed for an hour or just stay awake until Jeet and I had to get in a taxi for the Pulkova airport. The time was right to test the recommendation of my distinguished Russian colleagues.

What happened next is easy to imagine. We arrived at the (frozen) airport at about 4:30 AM and the border patrol lady officer had a hard time matching me to the picture in the passport. No surprise here: the tired guy in front of her had little resemblance to the passport picture. Knowing that there was some seating area in the terminal she felt sorry for me and let me go. Next was the leg to Frankfurt part of the trip. Jeet and I talked (I was quie annimated in spite of the sleep depravation) the whole flight and I had no sleep. I was reaching the point of no return :-)

I am getting to the good part ... In Frankfurt I was engaged in a futile exercise to upgrade myself. I begged, offered to use miles, my first born, etc. Nope. I love Lufthansa (Note to self, lookup customer service in wikipedia and make sure Lufthansa is referenced there). To my delight I was seated on row 42 J. Folks this seat is a middle seat ... between two healthy Germans. Between the three of us we could have been backup lineman in the NFL. Now this is what I call cozy.

From this point on I can't tell you much (I slept the rest of the way, like a baby in his mother's arms) other than the fact that the recipe works. I slept all the way to San Francisco and had no jet lag the following week.

I want thank Sergey, Shura and Alexei for their wisdom and foresite. I'll likely use this recipe in my future trips :-)

Monday Jan 29, 2007

Receipe for indigestion :-)

The last time I was in a business trip (Sept '06) I had severe indigestion and I had to seek medical attention in St. Petersburg, Russia. You'd think I learn from that ... Wrong!

Here I am in Prague, at dinner with John, Petr and Anatoli.

 

 What can I say in my defense? The second night I just dinner for one :-) The hard part of the trip is still ahead. I still need to get to St. Petersburg during this trip and survive a dinner with Sergey :\^)

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