Honda is in cahoots with Apple

As I finally get my brand spanking new shiny Acura TSX, I am itching to try out the iPod interface.  My biggest worry: will this thing recognize and display Russian characters that I use for my songs from the Motherland?  I even took my iPod and its USB cable with me to go pick up the car.  As I drive mine, mine, all mine car away from the dealership, the first chance I get, at the first red traffic light, I plug my iPod in.  This is followed by a second of suspense and… the words “Unsupported version” appear on the display.  What kind of crap is this?!  My 3G iPod is not supported?! I have to get a new one?!  I swear, this is all a part of a giant conspiracy that Honda entered into with Apple to encourage more sales of iPods.  I hate to think that I have to upgrade mine, but I know that I will.

It’s a miracle — I bought a car!!!

After probably close to 2 years of agonizing over my next vehicle, it has finally happened — I bought a car!  As it was bound to happen, the car I bought has very little to do with any of the cars that I was researching, evaluating, selecting and otherwise obsessing over during the last 1 or 2 years.  All this time I thought I wanted a station wagon.  I wanted a bigger car, something that would easily fit my mountain bike without having to deal with a bike rack.  I thought I wanted a European car.  With those requirements, the list of options was small and seemed to be getting smaller every month. 

After all the long months, it all came down to this week.  This week I was in the mood to buy a car.  Oddly enough, it came down to 2 cars: Mercury Milan and Acura TSX.  And while I had sworn long ago to never buy an American car, I was all set on the Milan.  It had everything: AWD, Bluetooth, iPod integration, navigation, etc., etc., etc.  A beautiful car inside and outside.  And then, I just had to go and look at the new TSX…

It happened once before and it happened again this time.  Once I looked at an Acura, I wanted it.  I fought with myself long and hard, but the manual transmission, better gas mileage, the fact that this is after all an Acura, a car completely made in Japan, had won.

So, now I am the proud owner of a brand spanking new 2009 Acura TSX. It is not a station wagon, in fact, its boot is pretty small.  I wanted something red and it is black.  I wanted a light color interior and it is black, too. I wanted an all-wheel-drive car and this is one is front-wheel only.  I wanted a European car and this one, once again, is Asian.

So now I own not what I was looking for, but it will be a very fun car to have.

The importance of paying attention to details

As a professional consultant, selling the services of my company, I set expectations with my clients every single day, and I set them pretty damn high. My clients pay high prices for my services and services of my team, they need to know what differentiates us from other consultants/contractors who can be gotten for a fraction of our price.  And the competition out there is pretty severe.  There’s always someone else who can write code just as well as you, who can be as personable as you — in short, someone who can do the job as well as you.  And that someone is always willing to do the job for just a little less.  What sets you apart is attention to details.  How perfect is your code?  How well is it tested?  Did it work on the first try or did the client had to ask you to rework some things?  When you do all those things well, then you reputation is high, you can charge a premium for your services and clients will be happy to pay a higher price.  And if you already do charge a premium for your services, you better do all those things well or watch your prices go down or your clients leave.  And now for a little story to illustrate…

As my seemingly never-ending search for that perfect car continues, I decided to try my luck with a “pre-driven” vehicle. I found a 2007 BMW 328 xi station wagon.  The car was fully loaded, sold by a dealer, BMW certified.  The pictures on the dealer’s website looked good, the options were in line with what I wanted, the price seemed right too.  All in all it sounded like I might be nearing the end of my search.

I went out to look at the car and… I was disappointed.  While overall the car looked great, there were little things that just didn’t feel right.  There were salt stains on the black floor carpet, there were little scratches on different parts of the body and the plastic molding on the outside was scratches and dented.  I asked the salesperson about it and his response was that they can take care of most of those things. My thought — why haven’t you already? Why would you put up a $32K car on display for sale and not spend half an hour to buff out the scratches or remove salt stains?  Needless to say, no matter how much I wanted to like the car, I walked away disappointed.

Now, were this a $20K car, I might have been OK with a few scratches but not for $32K BMW.  The price of the car and the BMW brand reputation set my expecations high but unfortunately, they were not met.  The result — they lost a client who was ready to drive a car off the lot that night.

Zoho integrates Google authentication

Zoho, an online suite of applications, now allows you to login using your Google account.  Zoho is fairly recent discovery for me, but I’m very much in love with it.  I was already using Google Docs a little bit, but as of late have been switching to Zoho.  There’s something about the Zoho interface that I like a little better than that of Google Docs.  Also, although I haven’t used much of anything else other than the Writer application, I keep thinking that with a greater selection of applications on Zoho, I may take advantage of something else some day.
Now, I can’t help but think that with this Google authentication integration, something is going on behind the scenes.  I wouldn’t be too surprised to hear about Google buying Zoho in the near future.

The worst part about it, I can’t remember my Zoho login now.  If Google and Zoho ever part ways, I’m gonna be in trouble.

On a side note, every time I use one of these online applications, Google or Zoho, I can’t help but think back about 10 years ago to Lotus unveiling its eSuite at the Lotusphere.  I remember sitting in the audience, watching the demo, and wondering why anyone would ever use something like this.  Today, I’m using a very similar product and loving it.  And I can’t help but wonder (marvel) at how far ahead of its time Lotus eSuite was in 1998 – 1999.

A surplus Lotusphere backpack anyone?

When I first saw this backpack from a distance, I thought this was a fellow Lotusphere attendee taking in the sights and sounds of Vegas.  Imagine my surprise when I got closer and saw a “Microsoft” logo on it.  When did Microsoft stared bleeding yellow?  I wonder if the marketing folks at Microsoft whodecided to sponsor RSA Conference 2008 knew how closely this backpack resembled those of Lotusphere.

Notes 8 helps a Park District to stay with Notes

For a change, a bit of good news from the Lotus vs. Microsoft front.  It looks like it took 3 months but my efforts that I described in this article (Deciding to Migrate) have finally paid off.  The client decided to stay with Lotus Notes.  They renewed their Lotus licenses for another year and want PSC to help them upgrade all desktops and train the users.  A small victory for Lotus.  Can’t help but take credit for this and feel good about it.