Perusing the August 26th Sunday New York Times Style Magazine, ogling the latest in women's fashion, my mind wanders. Apparently there's an insatiable market for luxury apparel; the 316 page issue is jam-packed with goodies like a $3,495 Chanel Jersey Handbag and a freaky looking $5,390 Louis Vuitton Feather Necklace. Then again, if you really want to make that special someone really happy, go for the $26,500 Hermes Sable-and-Crocodile Kelly Muff or perhaps something more practical like the $23,155 Yves Saint Laurent sweater embroidered by Lesage. I'm sure it's all splendid couture, … Read more
When was the last time you said something but meant another, or embellished the truth just a bit? Even the most honest and straightforward of us do it from time to time.
Sometimes we're trying to save face or spare somebody's feelings. Other times we're trying to make ourselves appear better than we really are.
I suspect that most of the time we're trying to save ourselves from something unpleasant by telling ourselves it's for the other person's good.
Call them euphemisms, embellishments, little white lies, spinning the truth, exaggerations, whatever you like. They're common in the workplace and everybody's guilty. You can either admit it or not, but if you say "not me," we all know you're lying.
There must be thousands of workplace euphemisms; I invite you to share your favorites with us. Here are some common ones that come to mind, just to get us started:
Hiring and firing You said, "We welcome you to the company." You meant, "We can't wait to dump all this crap on you."
You said, "I've got offers from a few other companies." You meant, "I had one other interview but they never called back."… Read more
Amplifier power is measured in watts, as in "100 watts per channel," but what does that really mean? Do all 100 watt per channel receivers deliver 100 watts? And what about those "1000 watt" home theater in a box systems? Are they more powerful than 2,000 A/V receivers? And what about high-end 100 watt per channel high-end power amps? Are all watts created equal? I don't think so!
Unfortunately power ratings are a near meaningless way to compare the loudness potential of one receiver, amplifier, or HTIB against another. That's what power … Read more
Monty Python couldn't have come up with a more annoying routine than the infamous spam sketch. But way back in the psychedelic 70s, the comedy troupe couldn't possibly have imagined the disgust and frustration the word "spam" would elicit today, especially among IT professionals.
I managed to defeat hordes of telemarketers by signing up for the national do-not-call registry. But when it comes to spam, I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm ready to throw in the towel and become a computerless monk. I feel like less of a man because I couldn't protect my family from this deadly menace.
Maybe 2% of my emails are actually addressed to me personally. The rest are garbage: spams and scams of every shape, size, and flavor. They run the gamut from those offering me supposedly hot stock picks, loans, and drugs, to others concerned with the size and effectiveness of my manhood.… Read more
I wish it wasn't true, but most, I mean like 99% of all audiophiles are men. The vast majority of industry's designers and owners are men. During my sixteen-year stint as a high-end audio salesman, I had three or four female customers. That's out of thousands and thousands of encounters, and even away from the job, I can't remember ever meeting more than a handful of female audiophiles.
Men have a thing about things, we get off on the technology, and the look and feel of the gear speaks to us. The mere sight of a … Read more
Yesterday was the setup for an eye-opening smart home adventure for my new custom home. Here's the conclusion:
I found lots of solutions that weren't robust enough for my application. One of the best was by Control4, a venture-funded startup in Salt Lake City, Utah. Control4's products are wireless and perfect for retrofitting an existing home since they don't require structured cable. Still, I had the luxury of wiring the house, which in my perhaps overly-conservative way of thinking is more bulletproof than wireless, so I kept on searching.
The best solution I could find for new home construction was Lifeware by Exceptional Innovation. Lifeware integrates with Windows and now Vista Media Center, creating a single interface and relatively seamless integration between subsystems. I even found a contractor capable of designing, networking and installing all the subsystems.
I was more than a bit queasy about Microsoft having any part in controlling my home. What if it crashed? Would the whole house turn blue until I rebooted it? And how exactly do you reboot a house? What if a virus or a worm or spyware got in? But Lifeware was supposed to be bulletproof, so I temporarily set my fear aside while I awaited the all important price-tag.
I was really excited to get the contractor's proposal. I involuntarily held my breath as I opened the attachment and then scrolled down to the bottom of the six-page document. After the initial shock wore off, I was finally able to breath again. I called another vendor for a sanity check. Same thing.
I wondered if these people were smoking something or maybe I'm just cheap? I didn't believe the latter, since I was building a relatively expensive home. I'll let you decide. Here's the math:… Read more
What's so good about good sound? Who gives a crap? Strolling around Apple's oh-so-cool Fifth Avenue emporium in Manhattan, taking in the screechy din of countless cute-as-a-button iPod speakers, you'd have to conclude no one. Apple's temple is flush with style, but the sound is, in my opinion, flat out dreadful. OK, it's a showroom and hardly the sort of environment conducive to a quality listening experience, but even so, the priorities disparity is jarring. With most iPod speakers hovering around $100 to $200, you'd have to conclude that's what sells: a tinny … Read more
Ezra Dyer's Ferrari F430 road test in the July 1 "Automobiles" section of the Sunday New York Times had me drooling. The lucky bastard didn't just get to tool around in the dream machine, there was something about the way he gushed about the 479 horsepower V-8's "high-pitched, hard edged wail that's unlike anything else you'll hear from a car with license plates," and later on rhapsodized about the car's ability to deliver a "supersonic whip crack from the exhaust that prompts you to look in the mirror to … Read more
About 25 years ago, a coworker and I brainstormed about designing home automation into new home construction. I think one of us did a paper on it for business school, or maybe we worked on it together; I can't remember. What I do remember is that I couldn't stand accounting and quit the MBA program. Maybe that explains why I only got to be a CEO for seven months.
At the time, computer and network technology was all big iron, so robust, cost-effective home automation was a long way off. Nevertheless, we had hopes and dreams, and one of mine was to someday build my dream home with lots of cool technology built-in.
Fast forward 25 years. My wife and I are near completion of a custom home. We put our hopes and dreams into this house, which my wife designed. Our architect and builder had a mastery of every aspect of the process, except for one: smart home technology. That kind of left me in charge of dealing with that aspect of the home.
Since I'm somewhat of a computer geek, I didn't have too much of a problem with that. After all, I knew what the technology was capable of, I knew the tradeoffs, and I knew what I wanted. I also knew when a contractor was blowing smoke up my butt, which came in handy.… Read more
"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it's not open."--Frank Zappa
We all tend to like what we like--the music we know--but finding new music that breaks through can be almost impossible for some folks. I'm always on the prowl for something different, it's just that too often the new music that immediately grabs my ear bores me in a week or two. I've learned over the years the music that doesn't instantly connect is the stuff that sometimes sticks around for the long haul. I remember when … Read more