October 2004 - Posts
If you haven't seen the clip from his appearance on Crossfire, check it out at http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2652831
. One of the funniest clips I have seen in a long time.
Although I generally reserve this blog for nonsense, I do have something relatively serious to post. I have an immediate need for a program manager for a contract-based job based in Redmond, WA. Please note that this role is for my company, SharpLogic Software (http://www.sharplogic.com), and will take place mostly on the Redmond, WA site of one of my biggest customers. It will initially have a four month pilot period starting in January with the likelihood of being extended to a full two years, and probably even more beyond that.
As for requirements, the PM:
- Must live within commuting distance from Redmond, WA, and be a US citizen or permanent resident
- Must have a BS/BA in computer science, engineering, or a related field (this means more to the customer than it does to me), with at least two years of experience
- Must have strong understanding of XML, SQL, and ActiveX
- Must have broad expertise with Windows, although specific developer experience is not required
- Must be fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese
Up front, I’d like to point out that this isn’t a programming role. It is, however, a technical role in which you’ll probably learn more about the details of working with Windows than you ever expected. If you are an experienced developer or tester who would like to grow their program management experience, this is a great opportunity for you.
If you’re interested in learning more (or know someone who would be a good fit), please send a resume directly to me at email@example.com. Please note if you would like the submission to be kept confidential.
REDMOND, Wash., -- Oct. 14, 2004 – On the heels of an incredibly successful Virtual PC 2004 launch, Microsoft Corp. today announced plans for two new related products expected to reach market in early 2005: Microsoft Abstract PC 2005 and Microsoft Static PC 2005.
Microsoft Abstract PC 2005
Abstract PC has been designed by top researchers from leading psychiatric institutions. By offering a unique view of the PC interface, users are sure to have an experience unparalleled elsewhere.
“I’m quite sure that Abstract PC will have a considerable impact on my productivity,” declared Matt Foley, a mobile resident from a nearby tributary. He later added, “Now I just need to get past these mind-splitting headaches.”
Microsoft Static PC 2005
Static PC is a product that makes use of state-of-the-art electrotechnology and cybernautical neurononisms, according to the Static PC marketing department. Unlike accidental versions of Static PC experienced by other developers at one time or another, this version is the first intentionally destructive commercial software released by Microsoft.
“Static PC 2005 sure is realistic,” remarked Bill Brasky, who insisted on remaining anonymous. “One second I was working in Windows XP, and the next second it was like my desktop had been hit by lightning! Developers just didn’t have the tools to prepare for this scenario before.”
The Obligatory Final Section
Ed Kaim, president of SharpLogic Software (http://www.sharplogic.com), added, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m getting quoted in a Microsoft press release.”
As per policy, Microsoft does not comment on unannounced products, such as the rumored Microsoft Public Override PC 2005.
I recently needed to buy a new machine for personal and business use, so I figured I’d share my experience. Since I tend to have a lot of meetings I decided that I wanted a tablet. My experience with OneNote in the past had been very positive, and I find that I’m much more likely to take notes if I’m using it. However, I also consider a DVD drive to be crucial to my non-work PC experience.
When checking the usual vendor sites for possible tablets, I found that there were no tablets that came with built-in DVD drives. While I’m not usually picky, I can’t stand using external drives. On a lark I decided to check out Acer’s site, even though my experience with their TravelMate 100 prototype from 2 years ago wasn’t great.
I was pretty impressed with their recently launched C300 line, so I decided to pick one up. The rough specs are:
• Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005
• 1.7 GHz Centrino
• 1 GB RAM
• Built-in DVD-RW
• Built-in 802.11b/g
• Built-in Bluetooth
• PCMCIA smart card reader
With an extra battery, the total cost came to around $2,500 on buy.com with shipping, tax, etc.
I will admit that my out-of-box experience was less-than-stellar. If you buy one of these, be sure to disable the smart card reader as soon as possible. Also make sure to turn on the Windows firewall since they don’t come with SP2 installed. Before doing these two things I was crashing in under 5 minutes from boot. However, once I got SP2 installed, everything ran like a dream.
I bought a copy of Office Pro and OneNote, which work beautifully on tablet (now). Unlike the older OS, this release has great support for writing sentences that are longer than the width of the screen, which makes using Word very possible. I’ve actually written this entire review using ink in Word. It’s not quite perfect, but I’ve found it relatively easy to adapt to the little idiosyncrasies.
I’m very impressed with the battery life so far. Although the Acer site says something like 7 hours, I never believe the hype. Instead, I’m happy if I can get over 2 hours per battery on a plane while listening to music. I’ve had a bit of time to test this tablet out on a flight from New York to Seattle (6 hours) and have listened to over two hours of music while using Word and PowerPoint, which is after watching over an hour of Ali G on DVD. The battery claims to have 28% left, so we’ll see just how far it will go. By the way, be sure to turn off your wireless card when on a plane to avoid the waste of battery!
The biggest complaint I have about this tablet so far is the screen resolution. Since the monitor is XGA, it tops out at 1024x768. I’ve heard that the new Toshiba tablets will be able to go higher, but not having a built-in DVD is a deal breaker for me. I tend to only code at home, so attaching a full secondary monitor supports my high-res needs. On the road I’ll have to deal with big, fat curly braces :-)
There are a ton of little features that I’ve noticed since using the last tablet years ago, so many of them might just be common across all. For example, when I rotate the monitor into ink mode, the screen automatically readjusts for me. The pen comes with an eraser. I can be productive, even while sandwiched between two sucky seats on a Delta flight. The headphone jack is in a good location for either landscape or portrait mode, so it doesn’t easily fall out, blasting my music for all to hear. The battery life is friggin amazing!
All in all, I would definitely recommend this tablet, provided the startup procedures are followed from above. If anyone else has used this tablet I’d be interested in your opinions.
I had to take a last-minute business trip to New York this week. Since hotel rates have skyrocketed over the past 12 months (from $120/night to $250/night) I decided to be frugal and picked a 1-star hotel from Expedia. This hotel was the “West Side Inn” and clocked in at a reasonable $72/night.
Upon arrival, I began to understand why the rate was so low—the full name of the hotel is actually the “West Side Inn & Hostel”, which has been updated since I booked my reservation. I ended up having to book another hotel a few minutes after getting to my room because it was just horrible. The most annoying part is that Expedia’s online description is very vague about the quality and features of this hotel, and their policy does not allow refunds. Rather than try to argue, I figured I’d ask the community if they have any clever recommendations.
In the meantime, I will offer to rewrite Expedia’s amenities list for Manhattan’s “West Side Inn & Hostel”:
- This inn offers a very relaxed attitude for the weary traveler. Feel free to take a nap on the couch of our lobby upon arrival. Our clerk checks in every 45 minutes or so, and he’ll be more than happy to check you in once he finishes the standard “significant other” argument over Windows Messenger.
- This hotel features the first production elevator ever deployed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go to the first floor anymore, so you need to carry your bags to the second floor and hope for the best.
- Each and every door has been kicked in while locked to offer the full crackhouse experience. If you forget your key, feel free to wait for a strong breeze to blow the door open for you.
- This social networking-friendly building offers a complete bathroom on every floor, so you’ll get to know your new friends best. Don’t worry, most of the people you walk in on will be administering insulin shots—we swear.
- To ensure the highest degree of privacy, phones have been removed from each room.
- To protect guests from unknown infrared radiation risks, all TVs come equipped without remote controls. Don’t worry—you’ll still have access to all thirteen channels via the onboard dial, and we’re sure you’ll certainly enjoy our retro-style black & white screens.
- In accordance with our guest safety policy, all electrical outlets have been painted over.
I’d be interested in knowing if anyone has had a worse experience in NY, or if they’ve found a way to get a refund from Expedia.
From time to time I'll be posting entrepreneurial tips from things I've learned in my past business experience, as well as things I learn along the way in my new adventure. To be honest, most of these aren't going to be serious tips, so take extra special care to not confuse them with useful advice from people like Eric Sink. To make things interesting, I'll let you try to figure out what's useful and what isn't :-)
There are three main things you want to handle very early on in developing a new business.
First, it's critical that you draft a business plan, even if you're the only person in the company. A business plan isn't always something you execute against line-by-line, but it will serve as a great forcing function to guide you through your thinking process when trying to figure out what to build/offer, as well as how customers will learn about it, buy it, get it, and use it.
Second, make sure you take advantage of all the small business-focused services out there. Although it might seem annoying to pay for little services here and there, many of them add great value. Having a cell phone that you can check email from is a great investment if it will give you a few minutes of relaxation while traveling. Also be sure to check out industry-specific offers because they may be incredibly compelling. My current favorite offer is Microsoft's ISV Empower program, which is a virtually pornographic display of software love.
Third, figure out what your phone number spells. There are hundreds of reasons you'll want to do this, so just take my word for it.
Let's try that third one in practice. For example, let's take my new company, SharpLogic Software (http://www.sharplogic.com). SharpLogic has received the phone number (877)878-3909 at random. At first look, it's a pretty nice number. Lots of round 8s--always a bonus. However, the trained entrepreneur will quickly identify the fatal flaw--that dreaded 0, which doesn't correlate with any letters on the typical handset. Considering how important this exercise is, we'll cheat here and use the letter "o" in place of an officially sanctioned letter. While there is some potential risk, these cases generally hold up in court when you cite the precedent of "The People of Delaware vs 1-800-MATTRES", in which the judge decided that it was appropriate, in some cases, to leave the last "S" off for savings.
Still with me? Fantastic.
The goal of this exercise is to see how well we can customize a new business phone number to various audience segments. At first, SharpLogic Software will be focusing squarely on the software and technical services market. Since some of this business may be from overseas, a localized corporate tagline may be "For American Super Software #1, Call 1(877)TRUE-WOW!". However, as the company matures, there will likely be a need to address specific audience segments, such as verticals. One idea SharpLogic is tossing around is to develop a product to heal sick pack animals. Upon launch, it may be worthwhile to adjust the tagline to "For all your farmyard healthcare needs, call 1(877)U-PUFY-OX". With any luck, SharpLogic will get aquired by a larger, more comprehensive animal services company. Our latest project would be for cosmetic surgery, which will be hotly debated. As it stands, the proposal would be to adopt the tagline, "You don't have to live with ugly animals anymore. Call 1-UR-PURTEY-OX for more information".
Well, that's about all the value I can add today. Let me know if you have better phone numbers or better phrases for mine.
Six years ago I founded my first software company out of a college dorm room in New York. It was an amazing experience, but I knew then that I had a great deal to learn about the process of building great software and delivering it to market. When the opportunity to join Microsoft came up, I closed up shop and headed out west to learn from the company that had mastered software like no other. During my three years at Microsoft I’ve had the opportunity to do some amazing things. However, every day it becomes harder and harder for me to ignore my entrepreneurial dreams. As such, I have resigned from Microsoft in order to start a new software company that will focus on building solutions and products for the same Microsoft platform I have had the honor of being a part of.
For those who would like to keep tabs on my progress, I will still be keeping a blog at http://weblogs.asp.net/edkaim, and you can check out the company site at http://www.sharplogic.com.
Wish me luck!