Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Product review: Anker RoboVac 10

This is a first. I have never done a product review on my blog. To head off questions, no I am not being paid for this. No, I did not receive this item as a sample or promotional item. Yes, I paid full price for it.

With that out of the way, Anker RoboVac 10 is an automatic self-docking robotic vacuum cleaner. Basically, it's a Roomba. But is a rose still a rose if it goes by a different name and costs far less? I don't know. Never had a Roomba but I bought this Anker RoboVac last week on Amazon and it arrived couple of days ago. Setup was quick and easy but the vacuum wasn't pre-charged (more on this later). So I charged it overnight, set it to clean at 7:30 am and forgot about it. At 7:30 the next morning, it very quietly went to work. While the kids ate breakfast, "Robby" (as my daughter christened it...yeah we have a habit of naming everything...I am typing this on Maggie4) cleaned 2 bedrooms, a dining area, a hallway and the kitchen. Robby was still cleaning when we left the house an hour later. When I got back after work, the house was spotless...you know that "maid came while we were gone" look? That's how the house looked. And Robby was back on the charging cradle ready for another day of thankless hard work sweeping up after humans.

Pros

  • Very quiet
  • For a $199 device, it magically finds it way to the charging base every time
  • Goes under pretty much anything: bed, couch etc
  • Call me crazy but I like the idea of turning it on, leaving the house and coming back to a clean house.
  • It cleans all floor types: carpet, hardwood etc.


Cons:

  • No battery life indicator
  • The scheduling doesn't handle anything but daily cleaning. I like a clean house but I don't want Robby cleaning every day
  • Apparently, the Roomba has features that lets you map out where the robot should clean. Robby doesn't have that feature. I just made sure to close doors to rooms I didn't want it to clean...like bathrooms and closets.
  • Replacement parts aren't available (yet). It does come with an 18-month warranty.

Handling failure

Blogger's note: I wrote this last year but never posted it. It's still pertinent; so enjoy.



The past few days I have been thinking about failure. Not personal failure but professional failure. It occurred to me that while organizations are very good at highlighting success and awards, very few highlight how they handle failure. And even fewer job applicants are interested in knowing how a future employer handles failure. I have been conducting interviews for 5-7 years now and I have yet to have a job applicant ask me about my failures or my employer's failures. I think this is a very important issue. Because, let's face it, success is very easy to handle. Failure, by contrast, shows you way more about a person's/an organization's character.

If you are about to join a new organization, ask them what happens when they encounter failure. Do the managers look for scapegoats? Do the employees shift blame? Do managers and employees focus on solving the problem, learning from it and moving on? I think we can guess what bad organizations do; good organizations focus on solving problems while great organizations, in my opinion, not only focus on solving problems but also cycle back to learn from their problems.

So when you get to the interview portion where the interviewer says "Do you have any questions for me?", ask how s/he handles failure personally and how their organization/division/team handles failure. Like all interview responses, you can expect to get bullshit and PR speak. But hidden in the bullshit will be indicators that'll clue you into how the organization operates. If nothing else, I bet they'll remember you. And that's half the battle in winning at interviewing.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Reply All?

I wrote about this in 2013; apparently Microsoft must not be listening to me (the horror!) since the option is still there in the business version of Outlook. In fact, I think it might be the default because I had to change it to "Reply" from "Reply All" today.

Why would Microsoft include this option, much less make it the default? I have no doubt there are some people who use "Reply All" every time but surely they have to be in the minority. Besides, that's just bad behavior and it shouldn't be encouraged, even minimally, by having an option for this.

Dear Microsoft, it's 2016...stop encouraging bad internet etiquette.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

For real, Microsoft?

Have you ever blogged? This is what Microsoft baked into SharePoint as their blogging platform:



In 2016! Seriously, this is the interface Microsoft expects people to use when composing blogs. Fuck, I don't even want to tweet 140 characters using this crappy layout. This looks like the UI I would have come up with 10 years (you know before the age of great web UI). I am no UI expert but I am self aware enough to know that:

  • this is crappy
  • you can "borrow" better UIs 
Microsoft, please stop with this nonsense. SharePoint is SharePoint; stop half-baking features like this into it. I have been around SharePoint for years now and I have yet to see any company where people actually use all the social features Microsoft is baking into it. All they've done is made SharePoint even more bloated. 

BTW, notice how there's an asterisk by the Title field in that screenshot? Why does a blog, which is sometimes a stream of consciousness writing, require a title? Because it's stored in SharePoint and in SharePoint, everything (yes everything!) is a list. There discussion board is a list, photo library is a list, wiki is a list...everything is a list.

This is what Blogger offers:


Monday, December 28, 2015

The playbook: part 3

On October 11th, I wrote the playbook.

On November 13th, I wrote an update to that post.

Today is the final installment in the series. In the first two, I laid out how law enforcement officials use the system to a) kill minorities and b) ensure that the killers are not brought to justice. All while seeming to be doing their hardest to ensure justice. How do you do it?

Part 1: You intentionally sabotage your own case to the grand jury

Part 2: You put the victim on trial and leak information damaging to the case against the killer cop

Part 3 is the inevitable result that most killer cops are never indicted. In the Tamir Rice case, part 3 was dropped today: no indictment. Shocker, right? The DA did everything he could to ensure the grand jury would not indict.

Do black lives matter? I guess it depends on who you ask. To the cops and DAs in these very high profile cases that never indict or never get conviction because they deliberately over-charges and fails to get an indictment, I don't think black lives matter to them. And if you think "Well I am not black so what do I care"...you are solely mistaken. It's not going to stop at killing unarmed black people. Eventually they'll start killing white people in the same numbers, then maybe we'll get some movement on this issue.

This is a case where a 12-year old black boy was shot 2 seconds after cops arrive on the scene. Think about that. 2 seconds was all they gave him before shooting him to death even though they didn't have to drive up close to him. Even though there were civilians sitting closer to him without fear. This was in Ohio, not Fallujah. Even when our soldiers were in war zones, their rules of engagement was stricter than that. It was all caught on camera (no audio) and this DA could/would not get an indictment.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/28/us/tamir-rice-shooting/index.html