Contents tagged with Personal

  • Customer Service Is Key

    A few months ago I went to MIX08, which was I must say an excellent conference with a very different focus from DevConnections, TechEd, and PDC.  However, the weather was against me, and I've been meaning to write about it for some time.  Now that I'm about to head to 95 degree Orlando, I think it's time.  But the weather is really just the enabler for the real point, which is that customer service can create fans from customers, and fans will get you more customers than thousands of dollars of advertising. Getting to MIX We'll keep this brief since it's old news, but while trying to fly out of Cleveland on a Tuesday evening to arrive in Vegas that night, ice storms kept us … more

  • Twitter as Smoking Cessation Aid

    I was talking to a couple of friends and occasional smokers today, and both were commenting about how nice it is that Seattle is almost entirely non-smoking now, so they didn't light up while in town for the MVP Summit.  I've never smoked, but listening to them, clearly they were not addicts in the hard-core packs-a-day kind, but they would smoke socially or just to be doing something.  So it occurred to me, especially given that the three of us had just spent half of lunch each individually checking various Twitter feeds (and email) on our phones, that perhaps Twitter and similar apps on mobile devices are having a positive health impact.  Why light up a cigarrette when you … more

  • 2008 Goal Progress Update

    If you just read my blog for technical stuff, you can skip this one. So at the start of the year I set a few personal goals.  Since the best way to achieve goals, I've found, is to break them down into smaller and smaller pieces (as in "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step"), I thought I would assess my progress on the five goals I set for myself. Goal 1 - 200 Blog Posts in 2008.  That breaks down nicely into 50 per quarter, and in the first quarter I published 52 posts, just barely on track.  February was pretty light with only 9.  I'm sure if it had had 30 days in it I could have written a lot more posts.  Of course, if it had had only 28 … more

  • Not Working for Microsoft

    I thought I should post a follow-up since I'm sure many people ready my post on Tuesday about going to work for Microsoft on some code-named project and (a) didn't remember it was April Fool's Day and (b) didn't then read the comments where I pointed out that it was a joke.  I'm still happily self-employed and working on Lake Quincy Media,, and a new consulting business that so far is trying to focus on agile development and in particular setup of continuous integration for shops that don't already have it (just wrapping up one of these). I like being my own boss (or at least, having my wife as my boss - she's the CEO of Lake Quincy and runs the show there), but if I … more

  • Department of Redundancy Department

    I really hate repetition, especially useless repetition, in language.  I guess I've been a follower of the DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) programming principle long before I knew about the acronym, but I tend to apply it in natural language as well, as much as I can.  I'm a big fan of George Carlin, who shares my view on this.  One of his bits goes into the overuse of the word "situation", noting things like reporters saying "police are responding to an emergency situation".  No, they're responding to an emergency.  We know it's a situation.  Everything is a situation.  Since I live in Ohio, one of our local speech oddities is the excessive use of the word … more

  • New Puppy!

    Today we brought home our new puppy, a mastiff boy with brindle coloration whom we have named Odin.  So far he's doing well, learning his way around the new home, playing with the kids, and getting to know our three cats who are completely terrified of him.  Life will be fun at our house for a while.  Here are some pictures for those who might care. more

  • Some 2008 Goals

    With 2007 gone and 2008 already 1% complete I need to start thinking about what some of my goals are for the year.  Last year I didn't blog about any sort of yearly goals, but looking back at my posts from January 2007 makes me think about Michael Palermo's recent post about his goal of total blogging for 2008 (and some tips for blogs he likes to read).  He noted that he made 82 posts in 2007, and his goal for 2008 is to triple(ish) that to 240 posts.  By my count I had 144 posts in 2007, or roughly 12 per month, which seems pretty good to me.  I think a reasonable goal for me on that front would be to try and do one valuable post per weekday, which should be about 200 … more

  • Nerdvana - Coding on a Beach

    Recently on the Regional Director mailing list, the topic of Theater Glasses like these came up, which led me to express my wish for a high-res version of such goggles that would be sufficient for writing code and otherwise being productive as a developer.  The ultimate goal, of course, would be to enable working in locations where even a laptop generally fares poorly, such as on a beach, sipping a cocktail, getting a tan, and wiring up some wicked code.  In my experience with a variety of laptops, working in sunlight is nearly impossible, since the glare of the sun totally outperforms the LCD of any laptop I've ever owned.  However, world traveler Chad Hower (aka … more

  • Why Russia

    First of all I’d like to say Thank You! to everyone who has congratulated us and wished our family well.  We really appreciate the support we have received from our family and friends, both locally and online. I’ve had a number of people ask me why we chose to adopt from Russia, and I’m sure others are wondering but not asking.  Some simply had never heard of such a thing, though I don’t think international adoption is terribly uncommon or unknown in the United States (some questions came from folks I know overseas).  I haven’t yet had any ignorant comments like the one responded to in Chris Anderson’s (SimpleGeek) wife’s post, … more

  • New Arrival

    I could go the total geek route and write some pseudo-code to the effect of adding a new instance of a person to the smith family, but that’s been way overdone and I’m so overloaded now that it probably wouldn’t even compile anyway…  I’m proud to announce that Michelle and I have a new son!  Nikita Maxim Smith was born in Russia on 20 April 2006.  We first met him on 27 March 2007, and we brought him home on 8 May 2007.  He’s doing great and our daughter Ilyana is enjoying being a big sister.  Nikita is just over 20 pounds and is walking with assistance and is just a lot of fun. Mom, dad, and new baby are all home, doing well, … more

  • Five Things

    Craig tagged me so now I don’t feel left out.  Oh, and Keyvan did, too, but I’m just finding it.  Sorry about that!Here’s five things you may not know about me.1. Like Scott, I’ve never had a cavity (nor even fillings to prevent cavities).  I was blessed with unusually strong teeth, though at the expense of not having a few.  I only had 3 of my 4 wisdom teeth (woot! only had to get 3 pulled!) and I was missing permanent incisors on the bottom (doh! had to get implants!).  Not sure how I lucked out on the dental front; my dad’s got strong teeth, too, but my mom and sister not so much.2. Many know this, but I’m an Army veteran.  … more

  • No More DLL Hell - the song

    Dan Wahlin, an ASP.NET and XML guru and friend of min, just released a song called No More DLL Hell which you can download as an MP3 and listen to.  If you’ve had any experience in the COM world, you’ll appreciate this song.  You’ll find the lyrics and download here. more