A home run for the Scooba

Damn this Scooba is amazing. Easy to use, easy to clean, and cleans hardwood floors amazingly well. Had some dried ink staining the floor and it picked it up first pass. All while I was playing the XBox.

If I was smart I would have hidden it from Amy and only pull it out when she's out of the house. When she gets home I do a "see what I spent hours scrubbing?" and earn some get-out-of-chores credit.


Bring on the Irish

So far my confidence placed in the Lions has been truly misplaced... perhaps I should be placing it on the undefeated Boilermakers? The game of the year on Purdue's schedule is tomorrow, when Purdue travels to South Bend to take on Notre Dame. Last time Purdue visited they broke a 30+ year drought of winning in South Bend (by 25 points no less) and Amy and I were there to witness it. All of us (our tailgating crew) took time to enjoy the victory afterward as we pondered whether we would be alive the next time Purdue wins in South Bend.

Maybe it's because Purdue is owed some W's after outplaying the Irish in 1998, 2000, and 2002 yet still coming away with a loss, but I have high hopes for this game. Not that I think Purdue is a better team this year - they aren't. But they are due to win a game they aren't supposed to.


Geaux Saints!

Enough said. Glad to see the team back in New Orleans.


I predict a Lions W today

About time :) Hopefully the Lions can send Favre a retirement present of three picks... his usual when he visits Detroit.


Garrett the rock climber

One of the interesting consequences of Garrett learning to walk in the Pacific Northwest backwoods is that he is already very well adjusted to the outdoors. He navigates rocks, hills, streams amazingly well, simply because that is all he knows. Today we went on a bike ride, and I stopped to find a couple caches along the way. Before I knew it he had climbed a small mound of rocks. Very cute, and he has a ball doing it.

I imagine he will climb Mount Si someday... I don't mean hike, I mean climb :)

Garrett at Play Group

This is for Amy, if she has web access in Nashville.

Garrett had a pre-pre-school play group this morning at the same pre-school Spencer attended last year. About 9 kids in it, and Garrett had a good time. An hour and a half, mostly ad hoc playing, but they did read two books, had an art project, and had snack time. Good mix of playing / structure (2:1 by my estimation).

All in all I liked it, and I actually met a neighbor who lives on the street. Hopefully she and I Amy can set up some playdates for Garrett and Mason.

Big test for Purdue tomorrow

I don't talk about Purdue football on this blog. Not sure why, perhaps I'm trying to bury that fateful day in 2004 when the 5th ranked Purdue Boilermakers with their Heisman-leading QB gave a game away that started them on the current two year downturn.

Things are not looking good for Purdue this year. Giving up 31 points a game to Indiana State, Ball State, and Miami of Ohio. Ouch. They get Minnesota tomorrow. Fortunately in West Lafayette, but still, will take a big turnaround on defense for Purdue to pull this off.

Spencer's "Curriculum Night"

Last night Snoqualmie Elementary School held curriculum night, a time to come in, see the school and classrooms, meet teachers, and learn more about the education environment.

Spencer had a blast showing me everything - and I do mean everything - in the school. "Here's a calendar, and here's another calendar, and here's a blue piece of tape, and here's a purple piece of tape, and here's the blue area, and that's a yellow circle, and ..." It was so great to see him that excited about school. He even introduced me to his teacher, and did so very politely. It was great to get a tour of the entire school by him and see what things stand out to him.

Spencer playing soccer

Spencer started his first soccer "league" a couple weeks ago, and so far he is having fun. Rather than keeping track of the number of goals he scores, we keep track of the number of times he actually kicks the ball. Very interesting... after years of teaching him to share, now we're asking him to run up to people and take the ball away. He'll run up to the ball, and rather than kick, he'll look at whoever has it. Very cute. I've attached some pictures, but hard to pick Spencer out.

I get to have a little fun as I get to referree Spencer's home games. Pretty funny for the parents to watch me run around, I'm sure. No pictures of me :)


I miss working at Whirlpool

I loved my job at Whirlpool, especially the work in the innovative connected home space. What great worlds we were going to conquer with ideas emminating from that group.

Alas, I got frustrated not getting sound product ideas into the product development pipeline, and left for what I hoped were greener pastures at Amazon.

When I joined Amazon I inherited a product that, for lack of a better term, "needed a little work." Two months ago I internally announced the release of my baby (at work): WebStore by Amazon. It was a complete rewrite, built with an AJAX interface, was integrated with our Merchants portal (SellerCentral), integrated with Froogle and Google Analytics, and comes with a Keyword Recommendation tool based on super-top-secret Amazon algorithms. Today, we went public with it. I posted this morning about it on my other blog.

Really feels good to see the long hours of market analysis, competitive product search, innovative product definition, and plain ol' rolling up of sleeves come to fruition. Alas, I made a good decision to come to Amazon.

I've since moved on to a bigger challenge, one that will make an impact on an entire industry. Can't wait for that announcement :)

So long to summer

About the fifth day of rain in a row here in Seattle, and today something happened that I hadn't seen in the year and a half I've been here... it actually rained hard enough to need an umbrella.

With the fall, Spencer started soccer last week. Yesterday they played through the rain, and I had fun as I referree Spencer's home games. Spencer is having fun, but at 5 years old he's still learning the details of the game. Took him three games before he actually kicked the ball! (Until then he would just run up to it... apparently all that talk about sharing his toys sunk in).



Wow was I wrong

Lions layed over and played dead. The tone of this game was set halfway through the first quarter, with the Lions turning the ball over twice.

Kitna looked pretty good, Jones looks good receiving out of the backfield, but where is the running game, and where was that dominating front four we saw in week 1?

The Detroit Lions

I must say, for the first time in about 7 years, I was impressive with the Lions showing last week. A little disappointed in the offensive productivity, especially getting the ball to Roy Williams (his drops and Kitna's misses), but all-in-all a good showing against the defending NFC champs.

This week they get an NFC Norris rival, the Bears. I was able to attend one game at Soldier Field (pronounced "Soldiers Field" by the locals in Chicago for some reason), watching the Bears beat the Lions, and what a great environment for pro football.

This is the first time in a long time that I've looked forward to a Lions game "to see what they can do." We have NFL Sunday Ticket, so we are able to catch all the Lions' games, but I can't remember the last time going into a game against a good opponent I've thought the Lions had a chance at winning. Let's get it on!


Product Trial: T-Mobile and Samsung SGH-T709

T-Mobile is piloting the Samsung SGH-T709 Wifi phone - a phone that supposedly switches between Wifi and the cell network. All in all, disappointment in the product and service across the board:

  • Battery life of one day while idle.
  • The phone did not switch between wifi and cell. I had to turn the phone off and on again.
  • MMS and SMS were poor compared to previous services. T-Mobile has a strange MMS service... they won't send media to other phones or email addresses. And, the SMS capabilities of the phone were terrible. Samsung tried to implement a smart spelling technology, but it is really bad and unusable. Inaccurate, small dictionary, and it doesn't learn, unlike Blackberry's embedded smart spelling technology.
  • Inefficient user interface. Why not remember the most popular menu items I use and default to those when I bring up the menu?

On the plus side, the SGH-T709 is a great form factor. Very small, keypad slides out when you need. I would like to see that I can slide back in and continue the call; instead, if you try that the call disconnects.

Another interesting note was the final survey. One of the questions asked about whether I agreed with the statement "I liked not having to worry about minutes." Rated a strongly disagree. Why? Because they never messaged that you can save minutes while connected to Wifi. I suspect it, but they never messaged it.

Another question they asked was something about "the additional services." What additional services? I made phone calls, SMS, and MMS, just like other phones. If other services were available, I never saw any messaging. Very odd.

Now, where's my Blackberry so I can put my SIM back in...

Spencer's first week of school

A big milestone for Spencer as well as Amy and I - Spencer started kindergarten this week. My how fast they grow up.

Spencer is attending full-day kindergarten at Snoqualmie Elementary school. The school is in Snoqualmie, rather than in Snoqualmie Ridge. We were lucky to win the full-day lottery that they hold to see which students get in.

Spencer was very excited Monday morning, and so far he likes school.

Spencer getting on the bus.

Garrett was visibly upset when his brother left on the bus!

Spencer sitting still in class :)



Kudos to the Governor of Massachusetts

Nice to see a political figure in the US take a stand against state-sponsored terrorism.

Ford replaced as CEO of Ford

I think this is good news for Ford Motor Company, simply because Ford will be out of the picture.

Now, how can we replace him as owner and President of the Detroit Lions???

The Kitchen PC keeps coming back

This time an article on Byte.com talks about how to build one. I must say, that's a pretty decent and relevant PC. Better than the Icebox, IMHO.

I'm not convinced a new device in the kitchen is the right solution. Rather, a solution that leverages existing real estate seems to make the most sense. There's a lot of existing real estate not being used, someone just needs to be aggressive enough to take advantage of it.

Very sad to see the passing of the Crocodile Hunter

There are really few people that leave an awstruck impression on me. David Copperfield and Carl Sagen are two. Steve Irwin is a third.

I'm sure Discovery Channel will have a great tribute to Steve. Looking forward to it.