October 2003 Archives

Project Management Obstacles

Yesterday I joined PMI, the Project Management Institute so that I could get certified as a project manager. Lately, as I have been selling new work, or applying for a job, companies keep asking about whether I have my PMP or CAPM, or certified project manager. I have about 30 years of project management experience which makes this question funny, but it seems to be an obstacle, which I don't need right now. I have to study a bit, so I need to find time for that. The test questions seem pretty simple for someone who has done this kind of work, so, I think I can do it.

Today I thought it would be nice to write Joe Mozian a thank you letter for letting me audition on his show "My Life is a Sitcom". Here is my letter:

Dear Joe,

All of the beautiful young ladies from LA that coached us in the hall on how to behave before our audition with you had a number of good tips that I thought you would appreciate:

1. Ssssssh
2. Be quiet
3. This is a comedy show, be funny!
4. Talk loudly!
5. Be quiet
6. Give him shit, right back, you guys are here because you��re loud.
7. Be quiet.
8. You��ll have to wait while he auditions Ben Franklin.
9. Ssssssh.

You might remember me: I am the one of the non-actors that is unemployed and selling all his family��s old stuff on eBay. I know my family only has my best interest in mind, but, my dining room is filled with everybody��s junk! My daughter brought me all of her beany babies to sell, there must be hundreds, and she wants to make a million dollars. My father sent me fishing reels. My mom keeps bringing me nasty, dusty old books. My wife keeps telling me to bring things up from the basement and sell it. Now, I have a full time job sending everybody��s trash all over the world. This is not the job I wanted.

You asked me a good question during the audition which I did not have a good answer for. I have thought about what I should have said (as you always do), so I thought I would write you an email to tell you my answer.

Here is your question: �So Ralph, what is wrong with kids today?��

My answer, after some thought is (in an especially cranky voice): "Don��t get me started, Joe, these kids today are too noisy. They��re loud. I dunno, you guys played outside, you weren��t that noisy. Today they walk louder, I think, they talk louder, their games are loud, Joe, ...tell them to turn it down! I��m worried about these kids. They're fast too; kids are much faster today, and they are always hanging around. Ya know. They are always around. Why aren��t they in school?"

Good answer? So Joe, HIRE ME!

Best regards,


My call back for "My Life is a Sitcom"

My wife and kids were thrilled and appalled that I got a call back for "My Life is a Sitcom". Never having done this before, I can say that I was surprised as well. There were about thrity fifty year olds at the audtion this morning when I arrived at Faneuil Hall at around 10:00 am. Lots of disorganied crew members were running around with walkie talkies, trying desperately to get themselves organized for the audition. All the actors and comedians went first, they were told not to say that they were actors or comedians, just to say that they were regular people. Remember, this is a scripted reality sitcom, so professional actors, I guess, are required to make it funny.

After the stand up comedians and the actors, the wannabes stood getting ready for our 2 minute date with Joe Mozian. We stood in the hallway outside Fanueil Hall, being told to be quite every few minutes. How can you stay quite, while also building up your energy to audition for a roll as a Dad in a Sitcom? It took all our energy away. Also, a lovely women kept coming out saying, THIS SHOW IS A COMEDY, BE FUNNY!
What a gas.

Finally it was my turn. I walked in with a big smile, and Joe said, HI DAD! I introduce myself, talked about being from Boston and described the business I am creating on ebay. Joe asked me two questions I wasn't prepared for: "So Ralph, what's wrong with kids today?" ..and.. "Ralph, What should every kid know, that they don't know right now?"

Of course there are many things I could say, but here are the two things that I said: For the trouble of kids question I did a riff on the fact that as a old man, kids are noisy and do noisy things. It gets worse as they get older. For the question on what kids should learn to do, I did a riff on tinkering and fixing stuff, since no one knows how to fix anything anymore. I've lost perspective on how I did, (remember, I am not an actor), so I don't know if I was funny or not, hopefully I had good energy.

Next we looked a picture of Joe's Dad and I was instructed to at the camera and look worried, angry, and disgusted. As a Dad, these are all things I know how to do.

I'll be surprised if I get called back.

My wife nearly chocked to death when she heard who I was talking to. I thought that I had totally humiliated myself, but they must have liked that about me. I wish I watched TV, then I would fell more confident about my call back.

Great set of pages with lots of detail and screenshots.   Well worth the read. 

Mark Pilgrim wrote up what's new in Apple's Mac OSX 10.3 Panther.

[The Scobleizer Weblog]

I don't watch much TV and I am not a funny guy, but somehow my wife convinced me to audtion for a real life sitcom pilot to be cast in Boston and filmed in LA. She said I was perfect, I am old and I was a Dad. I looked at Joe Mozian's site and the guy is really funny. I don't think he'd say the same about my site.

To get in the mood, my wife and I thought about how funny our life is. The audition was in Boston at the Nine Zero hotel. There is no parking on Tremont Street in the middle of Boston, so my wife waited in the car with my daughter while I auditioned. My daughter, who is fifteen, was mad. We picked her up from a sleep over at a friends, just to have her sit in the car with her Mom, while I audtioned for a stupid show to play an old guy. She came up to my audition, mad as a wet hen, to pester me and demand how much longer it was going to take. It was another happy family moment, that I will cherish.


Jim Farris, a friend from Ernst & Yound died yesterday in Los Angeles. I met Jim in Singapore where a group of friends joined he and his wife for dinner. He had a great apartment overlooking the city. He was well traveled, had lots of stories and was great to be around. Despite the fact that I haven't seen him for some time, he will be missed.


YAMS: Yet Another Music Service


Downloadable Music Floodgates Opening; but fidelity is still the problem

"Reports say EMI, one of the world's largest music companies, is about to open its entire catalog for downloading to subscribers of wippit.com. Apple's newly Windlows-friendly iTunes system will reportedly add 50,000 new songs next week, and Napster's new legit download service launches on Wednesday." [Lost Remote]

Wow, these services are popping up like weeds. I still say they need to start differentiating themselves more, with lyrics, printable CD covers, listener reviews, and the like. I'm really surprised Apple hasn't figured this out yet, because they already have such a rabid, built-in community.

Wippit's main page touts "unlimited MP3 downloads for $49 a year (or $6.50 a month) plus 20 ringtones and a promise of no spyware or adware. That's a discounted price for the moment, as the site says the cost is normally $80 per year. It's also different from the major label services because it's a P2P engine. right now they have 60,000 titles from 96 record labels, so maybe they have some indie stuff that the others don't.

I don't see any mention of DRM or copyright protection in a quick skim of the site. Maybe I'll play around with it this weekend and see. But as I noted at the A/V panel this week, these online music services are the future, and librarians should start to track how they work, if only to understand what our patrons will be using in a few years.

[The Shifted Librarian]

My windows machine garbled the music played on iTunes. I originally posted that I liked the program, however, I discoverd that after 1 minute 40 seconds of play time, the output became unlistenable. I assumed first that it was a buffer problem and read lots of newsgroups to discover an answer. NONE! Finally, on the Apple site, someone made a reference to quicktime settings. Quicktime and iTunes are linked and iTunes borrows functionality from Quicktime. So I adjusted the preferences in Quicktime and the program works as I would expect. Now, however, it is the quality of MP3s and AAC files that I have to worry about. Neither format is satisfactory.

iTunes launched for Windows

I downloaded iTunes last night and I have been adding my music files to the iTunes library.  So far, I am pleased.  It works much better than the MusicMatch program with my iPod, and I do like the layout of their music store much better than the store at MusicMatch.   I wish all of these services had more music available.  I like jazz from the 60’s on and I can’t find a lot of this kind of music on the download services yet.  I am certain that the services will get there, but my listening habits are probably a bit more esoteric than mainstream. 

Apple's hit online music service iTunes is made available to millions of PC-using fans for the first time.
[BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]

Comic: This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow


From Salon.com

KM and Elearning: A Powerful Combination

At CGEY we combined the functions of KM and Learning.   We also extended the function to include the methodologies used to manage engagements.   In this case the function was called Knowledge, Learning and Methods (KLM).  I thought that combining these disciplines made the most sense and certainly made the integrative effort required by users decrease.   All the required information was presented together in one UI.   KM and learning should be integrated, they serve the same function.

KM and Elearning: A Powerful Combination
Quote: "To most organizations, KM and elearning are still seen as separate...There are a number of fundamental differences that have prevented a more complete integration of KM and elearning: historical and cultural factors, functional factors, and even vocabulary factors."
Comment: The separation of KM and elearning is basically the result of training/learning are defined. If the definition includes more informal learning (acquired through work, experience, and conversations), then KM and elearning are already very closely aligned.

[elearnspace blog]

Chief knowledge officer key to survival?

I always knew this, but then again, this is the role that I played in a number of companies, so I am biased.   I am convinced that KM can improve profitability and can aid in making strategic decisions.   The current recession has made this role very difficult to find in large companies. 

Chief knowledge officer key to survival. A recent press release for a book launch promotes the value of having a chief knowledge officer (CKO): Companies such as Kmart Holdings Corp. could have dodged bankruptcy during the 2001 recession if they had had a chief knowledge officer... [Column Two]

A pointer to an interview with Lester Thurow flogging his new book. Let's just say that Thurow has a very generous definition of what constitutes a CKO. I'd say he's more than a bit out of sync with current usage. One the other hand, this may represent an interesting data point in the argument that what we've been calling knowledge management will morph into simply "management."

from [McGee's Musings]

Great KM Resource

 I am always looking fro new resources that list KM materials, this is a good one.

Nice resource for knowledge managementKMCentral. Great links to KM glossary, tools, resources. Originally posteb by elearnspace blog

Microsoft Strategy

There is a good article in the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review about Maggie Wilderotter, who is now working on Corporate Strategy and on the leadership team of the company. She explains the Microsoft strategy and how content fits into the overall Microsoft vision and platform. I don't know if her assertions about the market and where growth will come from are correct, but it a good read. It gives you some insight in to the insular working environment at Microsoft.

In a post by the Head Lemur in raving lunacy on Amazon's selling machine, I think that he's got it wrong. Who cares if Amazon uses this channel to sell books, in fact having the books as a part of the search result may actually be helpful; there is no requirement to buy anything. I think that Amazon does have an amazing selling machine, and finding other avenues to build revenue is good business.

On the other hand, I don't particularly like the research task pane. Although I have tried it on occasion, I find it gets in the way of good research and is not very helpful at all. I don't think that there is much of a worry that this will reduce productivity since it is a worthless bit of functionality.

Ortiz just hit a Monster home run

I am watching the Red Sox play the Yankees and he just hit a two run homer in the bottom of the fourth. What a nice hit. I live in the city and all around me people are yelling and beeping their horns. Magnificent.

Apple's Greedy Side

 I’ve got to say that I really like the Mac OS but charging for an intermediate upgrade seems to much.  I can’t see that they have added that much new functionality, never the less, I will buy it.

Apple announced that its upcoming operating system upgrade, 10.3, will be available on Oct. 24 -- and that even...
[Dan Gillmor's eJournal]

Frank Sacci Music

Download file

This is a possible opening sequence for a web site I am building for my friend Frank Sacci, who is a composer living in LA. Let me know what you think.


I found this image as I was surfing today at Done Talking, a photo weblog. It reminded me of the new tunnel in Boston, which looks like this.

larger view

Marketplace for Predicting the Future!

I clipped this introduction from the website. I have not invested in it yet.

"Welcome to the Foresight Exchange!
This is the place to test your ability to predict the outcome of future events. It is also the place to check the current odds of upcoming events and make your own bets. Remember, this is not real money!
Are you finding that your time is vanishing and you are unable to keep up with what's going on in the world? Would it be nice to be able to check out the chances of future events that interest you quickly and easily? How about receiving a notice through email regarding the events that you are interested in. You can do this and more on the Foresight Exchange."

At the Foresight Exchange you are able to use your "funny money" (FX-bucks) to bet on the liklihood of future events. Membership on the Foresight Exchange is being offered on a free trial basis so you can get used to the concept and have some fun.

Success! I have been trying to figure this out for some time and finally I spent some time searching and found an export tool for Radio that works. exporter.root is the tool created by Bill Kearney. He is quite a critic of Radio. Exporter tool for Radio worked well for me on the second try and I am pleased with the way the postings look.

In Radio Free Blogistan there is a long post about migrating from Radio to MoveableType. The same methodology works with TypePad.

My ebay "About Me": RALPH'S METADATA

Take a look at my new "about me" page on ebay. It lists all my current auctions. I am currently selling my collection of rare jazz albums. I am hoping others will recognize their value! I am discovering my inner merchant.

Google buys Kaltix

There is lots of activity in the search space with new search technologies being acquired quickly. Here is the story from InfoWorld by Cathleen Moore . I am looking forward to more precise searching.

Google on Tuesday announced it has acquired Kaltix, a search technology start-up based in Palo Alto, Calif. The terms of deal were not disclosed. Kaltix is a developer of context-sensitive and personalized search offerings designed to speed information search on the Web. The start-up had been in existence only since June of this year. Google plans to continue the development of Kaltix's search technologies, according to Google officials.

Google is moving to fortify its search offerings, as competition in the Web search arena has heated up. Yahoo is the process of acquiring paid search provider Overture. The deal, which was first announced in July, is worth about $1.63 billion.

In addition, Microsoft is aggressively ramping up its investment in a homegrown Internet search product. The company is currently developing a revamped MSN Search product, which the company plans to pit against Google. Microsoft's MSN Search currently uses search technology from Inktomi, which was acquired by Yahoo earlier this year.

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