Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thinking of the Environment with your Diet and Exercise

I came across the below infographic and felt compelled to share. Remember that fitness is about your health. Another aspect outside of diet and exercise is the environment that you live in. I remember being in Beijing, China a number of years ago and coughing due to the air pollution there.

On another note, keep in mind that Dairy production also has an impact on Carbon Dioxide emissions. 

Also if you are a glutton for punishment and/or like reading actual sciency stuff ( like me ), then here's a published study on agriculture and Carbon emissions done at Penn State.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The importance of creativity in a new candidate

Over the years I have had the chance to interview a number of people for new positions. I have interviewed potential Business Analysts, Developers, Software Architects, and Product Managers. In all of these cases, one of the main things that I look for is creativity.

Creativity, in my opinion, is what separates the wheat from the chaff. In the case of a developer, he or she may know the language that the position predominantly requires. He or she may also have experience with the stack and frameworks that you are using, but there is a huge difference between someone who has experience with these things, and someone who can get creative with them.

There are plenty of people who get caught in the trap of finding a way of doing something and then never finding a better way to accomplish that feat. They never to think why they are doing a thing a certain way and they just always do it that way because "That's the way it's done".

The thing is if I am working with someone I want them to be questioning the status quo. Asking why can't we change things, and challenging not only they're assumptions but causing me to constantly challenge mine as well. By doing this you fuel team creativity and innovation.

So how do you find people that fit this criteria. Personally I've been using the following question: "What can you do with a brick" (or a derivative thereof) as a starting point for years. I saw this post on LinkedIn about it that pretty much nails it. It's amusing to see how it can completely catch some candidates off guard, and believe it or not apparently it can be very difficult for some people to answer. From there it depends on the position. For developers there are some coding exercises that can give you some insight into the thought processes, and usually asking or challenging them about there answers will give you further insight.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Death of the Plasma TV

With the announcement by Samsung that they are pulling the plug on Plasma TVs, it is official the Plasma TV is now dead. The worst part of this for me is that I love my Plasmas. It is a sad reminder that it isn't always the best technology is the most successful.

I am barely old enough to remember the VHS/Betamax, but from everything I've read and everything I've heard the Betamax was simply the better product. The same, unfortunately can be said for Plasma TVs.

I was on vacation last week staying at a rental home. This home was equipped with a brand new top of the line Visio LED TV, and I found it difficult to watch. There was ghosting and strange artifacts that I never see on my TVs. Even the colors seemed overly saturated. Quite frankly it was part of the reason that I so successfully managed to take almost a full break from Technology (despite the World Cup's attempt to pull me back in)!

I understand that technologies die, but if Plasma has to die, then please TV manufacturers take heed: For the love of God fix the little glitches in LCD and LED TVs, especially before trying to sell me on new technology like 4K.

Sweet Potato Chips

This is quite possibly the easiest recipe in the world!

I have a toddler who is a "Picky Eater" (This is actually a huge understatement. He will not eat anything that is not crunchy. This means all vegetables have to be dehydrated... Every. Single. One.).

In order to have a quick snack on the go my wife and I came up with these.

1 Large Sweet Potato

Get out your helpful mandolin slicer, slice fairly thin until you have no sweet potato left. Pop into the dehydrator at 125 degrees overnight, and there you go, a quick snack to go.

Corporations claiming religious exemptions

I am all for religious tolerance and letting people believe what they want to believe, but quite honestly the most recent Supreme Court ruling regarding Hobby Lobby is ridiculous. Due to the Citizens United ruling, where Corporations were basically given free speech rights, and now we have a situation where Corporations can claim Religious Exemptions? What the hell is this world coming to?

What about the rights of the individuals who work for these companies? What about their right to make decisions? Corporations seem very quick to tell the Government to stay out of their decisions, but seem to have no problem essentially telling their employees that they are making decisions for them.

If Corporations want so badly to be considered People how about we start giving them the full extent of that. You know like if they're products kill someone the entire entity is seized by the Government and liquidated (You know like a corporate death penalty) instead of a semi meaningless fine (I'm looking at you GM)? 

The reality is this all comes down to dollars and cents. If a company doesn't have to pay for something then they won't. If they can use a "religious exemption" to gain a competitive advantage over their competition they sure as hell are going to do that. That's capitalism, its how Corporations operate.

So since this all really comes down to their bottom lines I'm going to hit back the only way that I as an individual can. I will no longer support these companies with my dollars and cents. With that in mind I will be keeping an eye out for companies that are claiming this exemption and I will be boycotting them. I will keep an open list here. Please feel free to send me a comment of companies to add to the list.

The List
Eden Foods
Tyndale House
Freshway Foods

There appears to be a hashtag about it on Twitter (#boycottedenfoods)

Looks like there seems to be at least a little bit of action happening on this matter. Eden Foods appears to be suffering from a little backlash. However its important to note that until companies like Whole Foods and other retailers get involved this is not going to hit Eden Foods that hard.