Post-CES Business Card Backlog

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CES for me is all about making contacts, and I came back with a stack of business cards that will doubtless prove to be highly valuable. Since I don’t have one of those handy business card scanning things (do they actually work?), I had to rely on the next best thing: my amazing wife who used her 100+ words per minute typing skills to enter all the business cards into an Outlook contacts folder that was then exported to a PST file, which was then imported into Outlook. You know, now that I think about it, Ashley’s far better than a business card scanner because she’s self-correcting. I’m a lucky man!2

Back from CES 2007, Trying to Get My Head Screwed on Straight

CES, and Vegas in general, is a mentally and physically draining experience. I made it back last night after nine hours of travel (left my hotel at 12 noon in Vegas, arrived in Calgary at around 9pm), and my home world never looked so good. Ashley brought Keiko with her to the airport, which always brings a smile to my face when I see them. Returning to Calgary was harsh in terms of weather – it was about -20 Celsius. Vegas is more exhausting than any other place I’ve visited. Spending one day in Las Vegas is like spending three days anywhere else – it really did feel like I was away for 15 days instead of only 5 days. It’s a combination of the noise, crowds, lines, smoke, advertising, blinking lights, traffic, and drunk people – all things that I find draining. I think it’s because I’m a borderline introvert/extrovert – in the Myers Briggs test I was an xNFP, where the “x” represents that I was one point introverted, but so close that I have tendencies of an extrovert as well. Over the years I’ve come to realize that I’ll often be an extrovert in small to medium-sized groups groups, but like an introvert, I require time alone to recharge my batteries – a true extrovert is recharged by being around other people, and being alone drains them. In Vegas the only time you are alone is in your hotel room (perhaps an elavator), so Vegas is 99% drain for me. I feel very glad to be home with Ashley, and back in my office (chaotic though it may be at the moment). I was so decimated from yesterdays travel I slept in until 10:30 AM this morning, so I haven’t had the most productive day. The Vista Lab and CES were great experiences though – I came away with introductions and business cards from 50+ people who have products, services, or connections that can help me do things what I do even better.

Christmas Time…

One of the things I like about Christmas time is how everything seems to slow down…I get less email, less phone calls, less things that need immediate attention. I can relax, spend time with my friends and family, and not feel like my work life is piling up. It gives me a chance to re-charge my batteries, take it easy, and prepare to take on the new year. With all the travelling I’ve done over the past 90 days, I feel like my work/life balance has gotten out of whack and I need to focus hard on getting through reviews, getting my office organized, and making Thoughts Media more successful in 2007 (no complaints here though, I’m paying my bills).
What’s funny today though is that we’re getting a “white Christmas” about 72 hours too late – it was a brown and sunny Christmas, until today. Then it got cold, and started to snow. Here’s a picture I just took:

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Three Days Before Christmas

I always enjoy Christmas time, because it means spending time with my family getting away from the stress of constant incoming email, and not staring at my table of review items that are taunting “Review me…review me!”. This year promises to be extra fun because Ashley and I bought presents for each other that the other doesn’t know about – quite often we want such specific things the other person knows what they’re getting. I’d tell you what I bought Ashley, but she reads this blog so that won’t be a good idea. 😉 Some random thoughts…

  • This Christmas we had the opportunity to reach out and help three groups of people in three specific ways, and we feel extremely blessed to have the financial resources to do so. I’m not a believer in being generous only at Christmas – responsible stewardship of our resources is a year-round task – but this time things just kind of fell into place. It brings Ashley and I tremendous joy helping others – I think people from the richer nations in the world would give even more if they knew what giving felt like (only a small percentage of the population gives on a regular basis).
  • My cold is finally breaking today – the past three days I’ve had congested sinuses, swollen glands and a touch of a cough. I very rarely get sick – I think the last time I had a cold like this was when I was in Scotland in 2004. I’m really hoping that when I wake up tomorrow it will all be gone. Here’s hoping! I haven’t been very productive lately because of this cold – it’s hard to think straight. I took some Benadryl yesterday morning, and I didn’t realize it was the “drowsy” version. I was half comatose for most of the day, feeling veeeery sluggish and more or less brain dead. Watched a lot of TV – The Lost Room miniseries was very cool!
  • I set up the R1800 printer last night – the geek paralysis was broken – and did a few test prints, including my first 13 x 19″ printer. STUNNING quality. I did a sunrise print on Epson semigloss and it looked amazing. I’m doing up a print for my mom, a 13 x 19 print of a sunset over the ocean in Hawaii, and I’m confident it’s going to turn out fantastic.
  • Today is the day that a very cool piece of hardware is supposed to show up. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say what it is yet, so I’m not going to say anything…other than I’ve been told it’s coming with 2 GB of RAM and two 400 GB hard drives in a RAID 1 array. Mmm. Tasty!

James Kim, C|NET News Editor, Rest in Peace

“The body of missing CNET editor James Kim has been located, authorities announced Wednesday. Arrangements are being made to transport Kim to an undisclosed location, according to police. Kim had been missing in the remote southwestern Oregon wilderness for 11 days and was found at approximately noon Wednesday about half a mile from the Rogue River, authorities said. Kim, 35, left his family’s stranded car Saturday morning searching for help and never returned. “He was very motivated…he traveled a long way,” Josephine County Undersheriff Brian Anderson said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. The Kim family has asked not to be contacted at this time.”

A very sad story – most of it transpired while I was away in Hawaii. I feel like I knew James, having linked to his reviews, news stories and videos over the years. It’s shocking when something like this happens, even more so when it happens to someone I consider to be a peer of mine in this industry. There are many lessons to be learned here (such as staying put when people are looking for you), but James tried to save his family and I have nothing but respect for that.

Michael “Kramer” Richards Has Meltdown

I don’t really want to use this blog for “hey, look at this news story that everyone else is posting about” type stories, but this one is worth looking into because it’s so bizarre. First, you’ll want to go check out this video clip [WARNING: not work safe, extreme language, racially offensive]. Here’s a news story with some further background, and lastly there’s another video of him on Letterman apologizing. As I watched the first video clip, I thought the initial barrage was part of his comedy act (some comedy is based on shocking words and concepts) but after watching the Today Show clip I realized that the entire thing was his response to people in the comedy club who were talking during his performance. No amount of talking or interrupting can excuse what he did, however, and the fallout from this is going to be huge. I can only wonder if he was drunk or high – not that it excuses anything, but it would at least be a contributing factor to his apparent insanity.

A Blank Boarding Card/Airplane Ticket

One of the purposes that I want this blog to fulfil is to “fill gaps” in the online world. Meaning that if I’m searching for something in Google and can’t find it no matter how hard I try, if I’m able to discover/create it myself, I’ll post about it on this blog . Some of these posts will seem like nonsense to you, but as strange as they might be, I figure that if I’m looking for something, someone else out there is probably doing the same thing.

SMALLgeneric-boarding-pass-airline-ticket-blank-templateClick the image above for the high-resolution version.

The first such instalment is for a personal project: I needed a blank plane ticket or boarding pass that I could customize to use as part of a surprise for some friends, so I went to Google and did some image searching. None were quite right – most were low-resolution, making them impractical for what I needed to do which was layer some text over top and make a print out that looked almost as good as the original. So I fired up my scanner, did a 300 dpi scan of a recent boarding pass from my trip to Thailand, and used a clone brush to delete the elements of text that I wanted to customize. Voila! Took make 15 minutes total, and the results look awesome when cranked out on my colour laser printer (an HP 2600n). Yeah, it says Air Canada on it, but hey, that’s all I had to work with. Someone creative can take the high-res image and slap on a new logo if they feel like it…

2009 UPDATE: Be sure to check out the whole Object Collection category to find more scanned objects that I’ve created. Be sure to check out the whole Object Collection category to find more scanned objects. These objects are free for personal use, but commercial use is prohibited without permission. Please see my Creative Commons License for further usage details. And if you’re looking for another blank airline boarding pass, check out this British Airways blank boarding pass that I scanned.

Trying to Comment? Sorry About That. At Least You Have a Mobile Version Now…

It’s been pointed out to me that somehow the swanky template here is missing the link to register a new WordPress account so you can post comments. Yes, posting a comment requires an account registration – to allow anonymous commenting would be to invite hordes of spam onto the site. I had the blog mis-configured at first and that’s why no one could register for an account and post a comment. That’s now been fixed. I’ve also installed a slick mobile template plugin that, while ultra-basic (it’s XHTML which is like WAP 2.0), at least allows you to read the posts on this site using a Pocket PC or Smartphone.

Welcome to My Personal Blog…

So here’s the funny thing about creating and running Web sites for a living (which is what I do): you end up having really high expectations for each site you launch, and you want everything to be perfectly in place before you launch. Let’s take a brief inventory list here on this site. First, we have an easy to use CMS – WordPress, all set up and ready to rock as of two months ago. Check. Next, we have a killer template, courtesy of Mr. Darius Wey, finished more than a month ago. Check. My matching photo gallery template is also completed, as of two weeks ago. Check. So what was left? Nothing – yet somehow I was obsessing over the smallest details the way I do with a Thoughts Media site. Then I was reminded of a simple truth a few days ago: the entire reason I’m launching this personal blog is to give myself a no-pressure, talk-about-whatever-I-want place that has no connection to my “real” job. So what the hell was I waiting for exactly? And here we go – launched!

I wanted to talk a bit about the template that Darius designed for this site: when I work with Fabrizio (our resident developer/designer at Thoughts Media) on a site design, we strive for maximum usability, readability, brand impact, blah blah – all the usual marketing stuff. With a completely personal blog, I had much more freedom to create something bold, unique, and designed to make me happy, not necessarily everyone else on the planet. I love the deep reds, the bright oranges, and the simplicity of the design. Oh, and not a damn advertisement anywhere. How nice is that? If only all of my sites could be ad free!

The characters up at the top of the page are Japanese kanji meaning “Samurai” – I have a tremendous admiration for Asian culture and many of the precepts of Bushido (with a Christian view of death of course), even if the version popularized by modern thinkers never quite existed that way in history. The characters going down the right hand column are a Chinese characters. From top to bottom, the characters are faith, hope, love, courage, and honour. All are traits I strive for in my life. If you can’t see them all properly, it’s because you’re using Internet Explorer 6. There are some tragic flaws with CSS rendering that IE6 has never fixed, but the site looks great in Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 (which all you IE users should download immediately, though I recommend you give Firefox a try, it’s an awesome browser).

So what will you find here at jasondunn.com? Well, first and foremost this is about my life, the things I discover, the things I find interesting. In the early years of Pocket PC Thoughts, since it was my one and only blog, I quite often talked about personal matters, posted holiday greetings, etc. Over the years as it evolved and grew, the focus also became more defined, and I found that some readers were not very tolerant of things that were off topic. They came there for Pocket PC news, and if it wasn’t about that, then why was I posting it? I don’t blame them for wanting a site that was on-topic, but by the same token I’ve felt a bit restricted in not having a place to post whatever I felt like online. I don’t expect this blog to be updated on a regular basis – more whenever the mood hits me or I have something I want to share – so the best way to keep updated is to subscribe to the feed. I also make no pretence that every single entry will be worth reading – this is a purely personal project that will run the gamut from cool tech tips I discover, to updates for family and friends, to pure ranting and raving on subjects I find compelling – including religion, politics, and other subjects too hot to handle on my professional sites. You’re welcome to join in the fun, but remember it’s a personal blog, so the first person to say “Hey, that’s off topic!” gets a virtual poke in the eye. 😉 And here we go…