Life’s Little Questions

So many questions…

Libertarians

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Republicans

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Democrats

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Any you’d like to see me answer?

The Age of Collaboration

People have never before had so many great tools for collaboration available to them at no cost. Here’s a video illustrating what can be accomplished easily with the tools at http://Office.Live.com

The benefits of SkyDrive for group projects

With practice it will greatly improve your ability to coordinate team projects.

You owe it to yourself to get familiar with these tools – especially OneNote, an app for collecting and organizing un-structured information. Probably my most-used app on my Windows Phone and desktops.

OneNote is included with all versions of Office 2010, comes pre-installed on Windows Phone, and is available on iOS devices. They all keep shared content in sync automatically via the cloud.

Practical uses of OneNote to make life easier

The wife and I use OneNote like this routinely. Smile

Replacing Turn Signal Bulb in 2010 Ford Fusion

Replacing tail/brake/turn signal/backup lamp bulbs
The tail/brake/turn signal and backup lamp bulbs are located in the tail
lamp assembly. Follow the same steps to replace either bulb.

  1. Make sure the headlamp control is in the off position and open the
    trunk.
  2. Lift out trunk floor carpeting panel to access a luggage scuff plate
    (hard molding) and a trunk side panel (dark grey, soft wheelhouse side
    trim panel) at the lamp area.
  3. Carefully pull/push the trunk side panel (dark grey, soft wheelhouse
    side trim panel) outboard to expose the lamp assembly. The most
    effective point to grasp the trunk side panel when pulling it out from the
    luggage scuff plate is at it’s bottom edge where that edge meets the
    exposed sheet metal of the trunk floor.
    Note: Do not allow the trunk side panel to remain bent and untucked
    from the luggage scuff plate (hard molding) for a long period of time.
    Doing so may result in permanent deformation.
  4. Remove the bulb socket byimage
    turning it counterclockwise and
    pulling it straight out.
  5. Pull the bulb from the socket and
    push in the new bulb.
  6. Install the bulb socket into the
    lamp assembly by rotating it
    clockwise.
  7. Carefully push the trunk side
    panel (dark grey, soft wheelhouse
    side trim panel) back in position to the luggage scuff plate (hard
    molding).
  8. Install trunk floor carpeting panel.

SOURCE: 2010 Ford Fusion Owner Guide 4th Printing, Page 70

GoPro HD Hero2 vs. Contour+ (Contour Plus)

I was talking to my brother a few weeks ago about an idea for mounting my Windows Phone in my car for capturing HD video while driving. Down side is that you lose phone functionality (such as checking traffic) with such set-ups.

I started talking about getting a Flip cam for the purpose and he pointed out that the PoV camera market was really heating up with some nice offerings.  He suggested the GoPro HD Hero2 camera that released in October. I also researched the Contour+ PoV camera.

I ultimately ended up going with the GoPro HD Hero2 for now, but there were quite a few things I liked about it over the GoPro.  One thing that is hard to ignore though is the community behind a device.

Compare the Twitter news feed traffic:

@contour_cam – https://twitter.com/#!/search/contour_cam
gopro – https://twitter.com/#!/search/gopro

In the past 24 hours or so, people have Tweeted about GoPro cameras 2200 times, and Contour only 56.  Sounds like the marketing folks at Contour cam have their work cut out for them.

Ultimately the reason I went with GoPro was the apparent picture quality compared to what I could find for the Contour.  Seems like there’s room enough in the PoV camera marketplace for two high-end competitors so I hope it stays that way for the sake of innovation.

Walking Chicken

You’ve probably seen it before. You’re walking along in a store or down a sidewalk when, for whatever reason, someone decides to play “chicken” with you.

Note: This article assumes that it’s generally proper to walk on the same side of an aisle or walkway as you might drive your car on the street. In other words, this approach is to be used where polite convention has somehow failed.

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It’s not that they don’t see you, maybe they think because they’re with two friends walking three-abreast down the sidewalk that you should yield to them. Maybe it’s some kind of guilty passive-aggressive pleasure. Maybe they’re trying to assert dominance over you.

In any case, my Dad taught me a little trick that has served me well over the years in dealing with this rather common rude behavior in a polite way – and you ALWAYS win the game of “chicken” to boot!

The key is that no person (or animal) will walk into a stationary object. So if you’re approaching a group of people on a crowded sidewalk and their body language is saying “get out of my way”, gradually slowing down and stopping requires *them* to decide how to get past you.

The vast majority of the time, simply slowing down and giving the situation more time to work out results in the person ducking in behind their friends or otherwise changing course to avoid you.  Stopping takes the fun out of a game of “chicken”.

Interestingly, this also works in cars if you’re on a narrow street with parking on each side. Stopping, leaving room for the other driver to maneuver, and letting them sort it out works wonders.

The Return of 40° North

In college I started blogging and did so for quite a few years using Windows Live Spaces as my host. Unfortunately, Windows Live Spaces was shut down and they suggested that people move to WordPress as an alternate host.

I got part of the way through this process, but didn’t like the amount of customization available, so I made resurrection of my blog a low priority.

A few things have changed since then though, mainly my thinking on the use of social networking and who owns the content provided.  I’ve generated content for quite some time on Facebook and more recently Google+.  It’s my impression, from reading their terms of service, that they believe that they own original content created by you within their services.

So this blog will be my attempt at retaining a little control in that regard – and I can use my own Google AdSense instead of letting Facebook sell ads to view my content.

I’ll still be posting links to my posts along with snippets – so my friends on the various social networks will see the same traffic as usual where shorter posts are concerned, but for the more in-depth discussions, I’ll be posting them here.

Also, from time to time I encounter a technical issue that I feel is poorly documented on the Internet. I’ll be making note of those here as well in hopes that when I (or others) encounter the same issue in the future it will at least be a starting point for getting to the solution.

That said, it’s nice to have a home for my public thoughts again and I hope people don’t mind clicking away from their favorite social networks to read my stuff.

Royalties vs. Patents?

I wonder if musicians would be so adamant about royalties for replaying a creative performances if they were charged royalties every time they used software, essentially replaying the creative performances of orchestras of programmers and engineers – ceaselessly, inescapably.

You can turn off a radio – but you can’t turn off the droning background hum of technological innovation.

In fact, in such a world, musicians would need to pay royalties to record, distribute, or even listen to their own music.
The funny thing is, that in a free market – this is EXACTLY what happens – except the royalties are paid up-front and bundled as part of the price of software and devices. The only cases where engineers get “royalties” of their creative performances is in the world of patents.

Both are protectionist – and both set their fields back immeasurably to bolster the absurd notion that one should be rewarded perpetually for a single good performance.