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Tag Archives: reviews

The One Minute Manager Synopsis

After reading the book, which was an extremely quick read, maybe half an hour, I figured I ‘d make a few quick notes to keep the ideas in my head.

The three main things the technique tries to instill are: 1-minute goal settings, 1-minute praisings, and 1-minute reprimands.  Obviously, the one minute thing isn’t literal, but it is all meant to be quick and not dragged out.

Some of the details of the story stuck with me, and some raised further questions.  For example, there is a lot of stress on the idea that a worker has clear goals and it is their job to do them.  If that worker doesn’t know how to accomplish a task, who do they turn to?  I thought it would be the manager, because the manager should know everything that is going on in the department.  But the manager doesn’t want to be doing the job of his workers, that is a drain on his efficiency.  There is the weekly meeting where everyone describes their current progress and roadblocks.  That may be where issues get raised and assignments made to resolve them.

Some things don’t sit all that well with me.  It doesn’t seem very useful for a “working” manager – one who has things of their own to do in addition to managing people below them.  The book never talks about that.  The manager is always available, never has clutter, never seems to be doing anything.  But maybe that’s the trick, to delegate everything.  If one of your goals is to create a report of how successful your department is, do you assign that task to another person to do?

One part of me says that this is correct.  A manager should do nothing but manage the people and tasks and make sure the work gets done.  Another part of me says that it’s not enough and wouldn’t be very fulfilling.

The book also doesn’t discuss how much time a manager must spend in meetings.  The story always has the manager fully available, except for one team meeting.  Surely this manager must have superiors and peers at his level.  What about that time?

Lewis N Clark Urban Gear Duffel Review

I have two fetishes and I’m not exactly shy about them.  The fetishes are office supplies and luggage.  Both center around the concept of organization.  Like when I go to Staples, I fantasize about owning all this office equipment which necessitates the need for organizational supplies like binders and filing drawers and stands and on and on.

And luggage, well, I just appreciate a well-designed bag that holds just what you need.  Because of this, I am constantly trying to find the right size bag for what I need at the time.  And style has to be considered of course.

So, this bag came up on Woot:

And I really liked it.  I’ve been using the bag for a while now and I still really like it.  But one thing I never got around to testing was the bag’s capacity.  I assumed I could use it for a week’s vacation, but would that really work?  I mean, it’s only one bag.  But then again, I am a guy.  Guys don’t pack like women, am I right?

Therefore, this post is now the inaugural ManPack Experience.

You can see the empty bag above.  First thing I’m going to pack is t-shirts.  I am an advocate of the “rolled” packing style, so if you pack differently, you may get different results.

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Nine t-shirts on layer 1.  That also includes sleep shirts.  I also expect I will buy a shirt or two on vacation.  Next up, shorts – because I’m not going to go somewhere that’s cold, duh.

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Five pairs of shorts and one pair of jeans.  I could probably swap out a couple of the shorts for pants. Next up, Shirts, socks and underwear.  These fill in the front.

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Two button-down shirts, six pairs of socks, eight pairs of underwear.  Next, toiletry bag, shoes and a belt.  Of course, I’ll have the shoes and belt I’m wearing, too, so adding extra shoes is just an example.

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A pair of sandals, a pair of loafers, and a belt.  There is still room for more, too.  Probably another pair of pants or a couple shirts.  Now, will the bag close?

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Sure it closes, and there’s more room on the outside.  On the left, I keep a laundry bag for dirty clothes.  On the right, I have my Kindle keyboard in its case.  It’s shown vertically, but does fit horizontally.  Front pocket holds a small tablet, which does fit horizontally.  And I couldn’t think of what else to put in the front.  So fully loaded, what’s the weight?

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It’s 17 pounds loaded pretty full.  You could stuff it further if you wanted.

So, this is a great travel bag for multi-day trips.  If you had two bags, you could go for quite a while.  But I don’t travel for long periods, so I am glad for another nice feature of the Lewis N Clark Urban series.  I also bought their laptop bag, and it is a perfect fit inside the duffel.

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The laptop bag fits my 15.6” Toshiba laptop just right.  The interior of the bag is very sparse, with just one zippered mesh pouch that I use to hold the power cords.  There is room in the bag for a legal padfolio, which I make use of.  The front pockets hold cables, pens, and a flash drive.

Overall, I think the Urban Gear line of bags from Lewis N Clark is great stuff.

Fail on the Wrong Scale

Reading through the tech news sites today, I see Microsoft has released a new model of their Surface tablet.  And, even though I hate myself for doing this because it makes me hate the world, I read the comments on the articles.  The comments that always got to me were the simple “Total Fail” posts.  Some would back it up with something like, “No one’s talking about this.  It’s dead on arrival.” or “Look at how little press this is getting.  Microsoft can’t even get the word out.”

I think I’ve finally come to understand this.  When you’re dealing with an ultra-powerful tablet – one that is on par with business-class laptops – quite simply, it’s not for you.  I don’t mean you as in everybody, I mean you, as in the person who is spamming “Fail” all over blog article comments.  This is an adult device. Let the adults handle this.

The people that are running companies and making purchasing decisions for their IT teams are going to evaluate this on a slightly different measure than how many denigrating posts the product receives or how many talk shows the product is mentioned on.  This is not for you, mass consumer.  But that’s not to say you can’t buy it or make great use of it.  If you do, you’ll be using professional-grade hardware, and everyone will assume you are capable at handling it.

The problem is that tech blogs attract the wrong crowd, because they deal in consumer electronics.  If you went on a true IT blog and they posted an article about the newest HP datacenter server or the newest Cisco core router, you’re not going to have a bunch of “This server is dead on arrival” posts.  You will read valid critiques of the hardware’s shortcomings, in other words, intelligent discourse.

I guess it’s pretty typical of the modern, self-centered, never-satisfied, all-about-me mentality to think that if a product doesn’t do exactly what you want it to, it must be useless to everyone.  And with that conclusion, you must speak with authority on the matter, because, well, it’s all about you.

But guess what?  It’s not.  It’s not for you so it’s not about you.

Gunnars

I’ve been a Woot buyer for a while, from back when Woot was cool.  But even now, you can still get some good deals.  Anyway, that aside, it was a few months ago that I saw one of my co-workers wearing these yellow glasses.  He said he got them on Woot.  I recognized them as Gunnars and was curious as to whether they were worth the money.  He said he noticed the difference.  I tried them on and because of the slight magnification of the lens, I took them right off and said “no way.”

Weeks go by and my co-worker is wearing his Gunnars every day.  Every once in a while I ask, “they’re working ok?” and he says they’re great.  The joke in our department is that they are future glasses and when wearing them you can “see future.”  On a more practical level, if the glasses didn’t work, he would’ve stopped using them.  So, the next time Gunnars showed up on Woot, I went for it.

I purchased the Groove model.  When I got them, I was slightly underwhelmed.  The arms were simple rubber and the nose pads were stationary and tiny.  But I got over that and wore them to work.  After an extended time, the nose pads started really hurting me.  I adjusted them over and over but couldn’t find a good position.  So I ended up wearing the glasses less and less and eventually they just ended up in a drawer.

Another Woot sale came along and I decided to purchase another pair, one with a different bridge.  I decided on the e11vens, since they had a solid plastic bridge.  When I got the glasses, again, I was slightly underwhelmed.  The whole frame was a glossy black plastic and felt a little on the cheap side.  But the glasses look like something Tony Stark would wear, so there’s that, anyway.  At the time I ordered the e11vens, I played around with my Groove’s one more time and found a very comfortable nose pad position.  With that modification, I started wearing the Groove’s consistently.  Now I had a pair for work and one for home.

The real question is, do they work?  Yes, they do.  You’ll see a lot of reviews saying that Gunnar’s are overhyped, overpriced, and pointless.  After using them, I have to disagree.  I’ll admit, when I first researched Gunnars, I was totally put off by the hyper-aggressive, buzzword-laden marketing they used.  Since that time, the company seems to have toned the hyperbole down and the message is a lot more palatable.  I read some quotes from their founder and they made a lot of practical sense.  Basically, Gunnars are safety eyewear, and that’s not sexy.  It wouldn’t be very cool to be wearing “safety glasses” at work, and who would ever buy them with that label?  So I understand why they did what they needed to.  Now, with some real testimonials and word-of-mouth behind them, they can afford to be more realistic and practical with their message.

Now, some of the arguments against Gunnars say that that all they are is tinted glasses and all you need to do is go out and buy blu-blockers from the dollar store to get the same effect.  That’s fairly untrue.  Some of the features that Gunnars profess (and probably way over-hyped) are actually beneficial.  I’m not going to look up what their special marketing words are when discussing the features, because they don’t matter.

One feature -  I ‘m pretty sure they call this “microclimate” – is the wraparound style of the lenses.  It doesn’t need a buzzword to be effective.  I know this works because my eyes don’t dry out throughout the day.  You may think it’s a placebo effect, but physical proof that my eyes aren’t drying out is that I get “sleep” in my eyes at the end of the day, which means my eyes are tearing more than sufficiently.

Another feature is the slight magnification, the part that freaked me out when I first put the Gunnars on.  This magnification is optimized for up to about a 3 foot distance.  Don’t wear Gunnars for driving or even for walking around, they don’t work for far distances and you’ll get a headache. 

Gunnars hype the optically pure lens material and anti-glare coating.  Eh, I would hope glasses would be clear and anti-glare, especially at that price.  And the tinting, it’s not sunglass tint, it’s like shooting glasses.

So, can you use blu-blockers?  Sure, but you won’t get a wraparound fit, so your eyes will dry out.  The tinting will be darker and more pronounced, which I can’t see that doing any good.  You could use shooting glasses, but you won’t get the near-range magnification.  Cheap sunglasses probably aren’t as optically pure as specialized glasses, so maybe there would be a bit of distortion.  And, purely for vanity’s sake, in an office environment, wearing Gunnars may be considered edgy, but wearing actual sunglasses would be either tacky or plain weird.

The other real question is, are they worth it?  For $100, I wouldn’t think so.  Luckily, they are a Woot recurring item, so you shouldn’t have to pay that much.  At Woot prices, they are definitely worth the money.