I’ve been reading a ton of books this year – but I haven’t always made time to review them. So with that in mind let me suggest The Powder Mage trilogy. I stumbled on this series via a post-trilogy book Sins of Empire. I liked the world-building and characters enough in this book to check out the initial trilogy. And wow, I wasn’t disappointed!
If you’ve read steampunk this is sort of like that only flintlock-punk perhaps. Technology in this world is circa 1700 in many ways; flintlocks, muskets, and still people charging around with sabers and pikes. But there is sorcery too. And new on the scene is a new kind of wizard; people who power their abilities with gunpowder. It sounded stupid when I first read the description but trust me, it’s a lot of fun.
Don’t be bothered by the silly words on the cover… it’s a good book
The plot can be a little disjointed at times; every so often something happens that absolutely makes no sense. At other times we get characters popping in or out that will never show up again. But these are quibbles. I enjoyed the series immensely and tore through them. I found myself up way too late at night reading these three books.
I look for ward to book #2 of the new series when it comes available in 2018.
I am always searching for the perfect shoe. That one shoe I can wear all the time (or nearly). Ever since Vivobarefoot cancelled their awesome Terra Nova II line I just can’t find the one true shoe. I stumbled across Allbirds and it had many of the words I like: wool, all natural, etc. I couldn’t find any description about stack height or drop but figured what the heck, a comfortable pair of wool shoes would be nice, right?
I ordered the shoes and unboxed them. Put them on and immediately thought: $100 slippers. I wore them around the house for a bit and thought yep, slippers. Now it’s day 2 and a little cool in the house so I put my slippers on after reading that Allbirds offers a no questions asked 30 day refund policy. Good on them for this; I would have returned them after Day 1 otherwise. As I ease into these for the day I have early observations:
These are not minimalist shoes. I like a very thin sole (see Vivo’s chart here) e.g. 3-5mm. Allbirds doesn’t claim these as minimalist by the way but I was hoping. There is also a noticeable drop from heel to toe, maybe 2-3mm or so.
The toe-box is narrow. Since the upper material is stretchy this is okay, but the bottoms constrain those of us with hobbit feet. You’d think a company using New Zealand wool would accommodate hobbit feet.
I normally wear 11.5 – 12 (45-46 EU) and these are a *snug* size 12. I assume with the wool and such they will sag out a bit over time.
The insole is *thick* and spongy. Hate it. Will look for another insole.
Overall – I will try these out for a few days. These aren’t a replacement for the Terra Nova II (aka the perfect shoe) but worth a try.
I spent a few hours listening to the Spotify Top 50. While I am old and out of touch I still like to think I know something about music (I don’t). Here is the thing: yes, most of the music I don’t care for, that’s understandable as it’s not my era. But there are decent tunes out there. And then…
Autotune? Autotune sucks. It sounds bad, it highlights that the song you are about to try to listen to sucks. Just sing. You can, most artists right now can in fact belt it out.
With the inept (and worse!) politicians we have today the time has come for me to throw my hat in the ring. For one, it really can’t get much worse than today. For another I am starting to show a little bit of “distinguished gray” at the temples – that’s some solid credentials there people.
My platform is simple, it consists of five (5) points.
Prius drivers are banned from the left lane on all roads. If there is only one lane, they cannot use that road.
If you cannot use Reply All correctly in email – you will be deported somewhere (we’ll figure out where later, this is big thinking)
All video-conferencing companies must end each call with a heartfelt apology “we’re sorry this was such a terrible experience – here is a $20 gift card for your pain”. The amount is doubled for Skype for Business.
If you screw up in the TSA Pre line, it’s a yellow card. Two yellow cards and you have to spend the next two trips in the standard TSA line.
Pineapple is forbidden as a pizza topping. It’s not Hawaiian, it’s wrong. If caught trying this you will be assigned “what kind of pizza do you want to order” duties in group settings for the rest of your life. My administration will be tough, but fair.
My team will be taking donations and of course “pay to play” cash payments like the current President does. Stay tuned.
While there are many tools available to help you collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations (still the work horses of business) many people still rely on sending email with attachments.
What’s wrong with using email like this?
Have you ever seen attachment with a name like Important_Overview_4_30_16_ps_td_foo_final.pptx? What this means is that someone built a PowerPoint presentation named “Important Overview” and marked it as April 30th to denote it was different than the one the day before. And then someone with initials of ps, and then td, and then foo edited it. And then someone finally said “it’s done” and marked it final. And that’s a simple case that might have actually worked.
Here’s what happened:
The Original Person emailed Colleague A, B, and C the presentation.
Colleague A edited the presentation and appended 4_30_15. She sent the presentation back to everyone.
Colleague B edited the presentation and appended _ps. Colleague B was busy and didn’t send his edits back.
Colleague C forwarded the presentation to Colleague D who appended colleague_d to the presentation and made edits.
Original Person reviews Colleague A’s edits, changes them a bit, and emails them out to everyone.
Now Original Person receives Colleague B’s edits, updates to Important_Overview_4_30_2016_ps_td.pptx.
Colleague C, working on a very old, original version, makes edits and sends back to everyone. Everyone is very confused because wait, C’s version has none of the other changes but it has new changes. In sheer frustration Original Person schedules a meeting and they go through the presentations and manually edit things. This results in Important_Overview_4_30_16_ps_td_foo_final.pptx.
Original Person emails this to everyone.
Everyone is happy, right?
Well no. First, a huge amount of time was wasted as people edited content that had already been edited, modified or otherwise improved. Second, all those manual merges means inevitably some change was lost. Don’t worry though, you will surely find that embarrassing typo during the middle of your big presentation.
And this is what happens when everyone is working hard, trying, and honestly wants to get the best outcome possible. Imagine what happens if/when that isn’t true?
Hey wait! you say. Colleague D did a bunch of edits, were those included? Nope. You see because D was forwarded the presentation Original Person never even knew Colleague D was working on edits. So that work is 100% wasted and Colleague D is now frustrated because he had important points to make.
So what is better?
The important thing to remember is “single source of truth”. Tools can be better or worse. Workflows can be better or worse. But as long as there is a single oracle, a single source that represents “the truth” then it will turn out better. Some easy patches:
Store the file in a shared place. Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc. It doesn’t matter too much as long as a) everyone can have access and b) there is change history. Change history is important because sooner or later someone will delete the whole damned thing. And if you can revert to a known good state you can be a hero.
Send links, not attachments. Every time you send an attachment an Office Angel weeps. Need to send someone a copy for reading but want to ensure single source of truth? Send a read-only format like PDF.
Use a tool like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Groups, etc. for communication. This means there is a single channel. It’s not perfect but this way you never leave poor Colleague D out of the loop, there is an ongoing dialog about where and what the source of truth is, and in the worst case there is a history of changes so you can unfuck it.
Combine all three and you’ll be better off. Or of course you could hire someone to “own the documents” – that person will go crazy and quit within a year.
What a fun article! We know it’s flip-flop, never flop-flip. But have you ever stopped to wonder why? Turns out there is a simple rule in these cases to follow I-A-O. Read the article. Chuckle a bunch and just wonder that you know this but like me probably couldn’t have explained it without a lot of thought.
After leaving Microsoft and then doing fun work at Amazon it was time for me to try something, well, smaller. So I tried my own startup – Bonavika was an attempt to reduce distracted driving. It was a good idea but we were such rookies. Eventually I needed to make some money so I went to a funded, ~120 person company, Cyanogen. That was a good experience with some ups and downs. The key thing though is I knew I wanted to keep working on the smaller, entrepreneurial side – well – as long as I don’t run out of money:-)
May 23rd we published the first step of my newest leap of faith – Ramp Catalyst. Please check out our website. Clearly the paint is still dripping and we have some procedural work to get to.