Gingerbread House Team Project
|November 21, 2015|
In 2005, while I was at a customer site doing some software integration, I observed employees doing a seasonal team building exercise - the Gingerbread Team Project.
The goal of the project is to see who could come up with most creative Gingerbread House with a given set of materials.
I thought the whole process was pretty cool. I took some notes on what I was observed, in case other companies wanted to do it. For many years, I had the notes on this website but it never generated any traffic so I took it off the server. I decided to bring it back for this Christmas season. Maybe this blog post will help generate some awareness.
I didn't take any cool pictures of the winning Gingerbread house because I was there strictly on business. The computers that I was assigned to do the software install just happen to be in the same room as the activity. Besides they were paying me to do the software install and not to record the team building exercise.
Hope this helps someone looking for a creative team building exercise:
Chris' Favorite Gear
|September 11, 2015|
Yesterday, I was searching around various technology sites looking for some additional third party information on Apple's new iPhone 6s. I was looking for reviews and technical specs on how the new iPhone 6s is better from the iPhone 5s. One of the sites that I came across was the-gadgeteer.com. This site has a lot of great technology product reviews.
One of the links that I thought was interesting was Julies Favorite Gear. On this part of the site, the author list all her favorite tech toys. Instantly I thought that it was a pretty cool idea to showcase some things that the author uses on a regular bases.
So, I thought it would be a great idea to implement something similar with my favorite technology gear. So last night, I quickly put together a page of some common tech toys. As usual, I plan adding to the page over the next few days.
Go ahead, check out what are some of my favorite technology gear and see if there's anything that you might want to add to your collection. Visit Chris' Favorite Gear and check it out. Once the site looks very cool, I'll do what Julie did and put a like on the main navigation bar.
If you have any feedback on the page, please be sure to let me know!
|July 21, 2015|
According to Google Analytics data, a lot of people are accessing this website via mobile device and tablet. This is a problem since much of the code template was written long before Steve Jobs announced the iPad. It's time for a serious universal change.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be updating the site to use the Bootstrap Framework. This will allow me to learn a modern framework and force me to create more mobile friendly content.
The biggest challenge that I am encountering is how to create a universal menu system that looks good on mobile and desktop. This blog is particularly challenging since I would like to show the different blog categories.
The 1991 Gulf War section is still the most popular part of the site and contains a lot of old code. Getting the site to modern day look and feel is going to take a lot of work. I plan to get that portion of the site updated before August.
If you have any ideas, let me know. Otherwise I'll keep searching online. Maybe someone over at Fiverr can jumpstart me in the right direction, might be worth the investment.
Retired Quicktime Movies
|February 9, 2015|
This morning I retired the website Quicktime media section which has been available on this site since 2003. This was due to the lack of use and the storage cost of hosting the video clips. When looking at the server logs, I discovered that no one viewed any of the videos in December and January.
Many of the clips that I had encoded are available on YouTube.
|October 20, 2014|
Looks like Apple is no longer supporting Sorenson Video in their Quicktime plugins in Mavericks and Yosemite. I have many quicktime video clips in my online collection and some of them are no longer working. (Basically you only see the status bar and no picture or audio.)
If I open the videos in Quicktime, they get immediately converted to H.264. So it looks like I'll have to update all the videos in my collection to make sure that they are using the latest H.264 standard.
Since I don't get much traffic to the Quicktime Gallery, I'll update the collection when I have some time next weekend. I am sure there is some automation tool to get this done.
I found this note on Apple's website:
In OS X Mavericks, some older media formats listed above, and those that require third-party codec components, are converted to H.264 or Apple ProRes when opened. These older media formats can be played without conversion using QuickTime Player 7.
|April 24, 2014|
To make going to my regualar sites super easy, I created a website portal page. On the top of the page are some graphics that have links to the various sites. I configure all my browsers settings so that it always opens to the portal page. Now I don't have to worry about setting up bookmarks, its very easy to add future sites that I may need to use.
PicMonkey is one of the best online photo editing tools. The company was founded in April 2012 by two former Picnik engineers, Brian Terry and Justin Huff. PicMonkey has lots of really cool filters, frames and effects that will make any image stand out.
JIRA is the tracker for teams planning and building successful products. Thousands of teams choose JIRA to capture and organize issues, assign work, and follow team activity. At your desk or on the go with the new mobile interface, JIRA helps your team get the job done.
TestLink is a web-based test management system that facilitates software quality assurance. The platform offers support for test cases, test suites, test plans, test projects and user management, as well as various reports and statistics. This is a perfect solution for companies that can't afford HP Quality Center.
BrowserStack is a powerful platform for testing web sites against the most current and modern browsers. This is a great low cost solution when you need to test websites across multiple browsers and platforms.
Papertrail is a time-saving log tools, flexible system groups, team-wide access, long-term archives, charts and analytics exports, and alert monitoring. Great for when multiple members of an Engineering team needs to access server logs.
Feel free to take any of the above images and use them on your Internet or Intranet sites. If your looking for ideas for additional portal buttons or how to build a personal Intranet site, drop me a note.
Everyday is Saturday Podcast
|April 22, 2014|
Check out today's Every Day is Saturday podcast. Your's truly brought up the topic of this popular Podcast!
Everyday is Saturday Podcast is all about how to monetize your passion. The Every Day is Saturday show will empower you to step up and stand out - while harnessing the awesome power you have inside of you. No complex theory, just real-world expertise from the man who makes every day Saturday for thousands worldwide.
YouTube Vlog Intro Tip
|April 17, 2014|
If your making any kind of Video Blog (commonly known as a video vlog) on YouTube or Vimeo, you should have a good introduction. A good introduction sets the mood of the video and makes it look professionally done. If you don't have the technical talents or software to make an intro, then consult various video expert to do it for you for a very small fee.
One such place to go is Fiverr Video Animation. Another source is elance.com, where you can spend a bit more for a more creative approach. Both places have great talent that are willing to go the extra mile to put together some video intro for only $5.
Once you get an video intro, it's very easy to apply it to any video in iMovie or any other video application. Here's a sample of a video intro that I got done at Fiverr:
|June 18, 2013|
The website was down for 10 hours yesterday due to a hard drive failure. The site came back online around 6pm with no loss of data.
I recently backed up the entire website, so I wasn't too worried about data lost. If you host a Blog or Website, make sure that you perform regular back ups. Don't rely on your hosting provider, as their last back up might miss some valuable data.
|January 29, 2013|
I recently found a lot of 404 queries in my error log coming from 22.214.171.124. A search online shows that this IP address is coming from Google.com. It looks like that Google is sending words to find unpublished areas of this website.
I guess this is one way for Google to build up their search database, however, if I wanted to make certain areas public, I would have put a link on the homepage or in the sitelink.xml. I guess the lesson here is to use complex directory names to hide from Google.