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Posts tagged ‘thoughts’

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes…

It’s 2013, and while I am happy with who and where I am, there are things I want to change. That mentality itself is a huge departure for me. Traditionally I have been my own worst critic. This year I have fired that inner critic, and instead decided to focus each day on the habits and attitudes of the person that I want everyone to see from the outside.

Yesterday marked day 8 in a row of returning to my traditional training regimen. This time around, it’s for fitness and fun. I don’t have any huge events on the horizon to pressure me, although I will undoubtedly run the Publix Marathon this March. I have run that marathon every year they have held it and am in their “Streaker” category – I think that is a distinction I want to keep up in my home town race.

I have already been in the pool 4 times this year, and it’s only the 15th day of January! Yesterday I cranked out 2500 meters at the Cumming Aquatic Center. It’s a fantastic facility, and features a long course pool four months each year. I also signed up for Strava, which will serve as the public version of my training log for the foreseeable future. I’m still a fan of Training Peaks, and have paid accounts with both services. But TP is more for my planning and tracking, whereas Strava is for my accountability. You can follow me here -> Mike Schubert’s Strava. There is good and bad to using Strava, but in all I like the concept of competition outlined in the “How Strava is Changing…” article. I will give it a full review later against Training Peaks, Garmin Connect and Daily Mile.

Totals for the week:
Swim: 4000 meters / 3 days
Bike: 16.2 miles / 1 day
Run: 16.5 miles / 3 days

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Don’t Tell Me Your Goals – Just Work Toward Them

Maybe that is harsh advice. I don’t know. There are some theories that exist that say sharing your goals makes you more likely to meet them. The theory is that people will check in with you and hold you accountable to meeting them. I think the truth is that unless it is someone with a vested stake in you (e.g. your boss, your spouse, your parents), they are likely to feel uncomfortable holding you accountable and will actually console you when you don’t take steps to reach your goal. “Oh, but you had so many other things going on it’s understandable you didn’t accomplish x.”

I recently read of a study that observed individual behavior in this area and measured the outcome of success based on whether they shared their intentions. It found that in “Four different tests of 63 people, those who kept their intentions private were more likely to achieve them than those who made them public and were acknowledged by others.” People feel good about creating their sense of self and are thus less motivated to actually take the steps to actualize that sense.

With that said – I have a few big things on the horizon and I literally have told 2 people. And they only needed to know because they would be impacted by them. I’ll be sure to share once they are accomplished. 

Stay tuned! But read more in the mean time: Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them

Right Size Your Resume in a Tough Job Market

With all of the “right-sizing” going on in corporate America, a lot of IT folks are looking for their next gig in the job market. Many of us in IT have experience in a lot of areas and can quickly get the label “overqualified” when applying for particular jobs. An article written back in 2005 by Bob Weinstein called Too Good? sheds light on a technique that job seekers should seriously consider -> toning down the resume. 

Common wisdom in the job hunt has always been to tailor the resume to the job offering. This rings true in today’s job market – especially for those of us with a lot of experience in a lot of different technologies, tools and platforms. Rather than submit the same 5 page resume to every employer, job seekers really should highlight their skills that the employer mentioned in the job requirements.

Why would you want to do this? I have been screening and hiring candidates for the past several years and have seen these bloated resumes and here are the thoughts that enter my mind. My two primary concerns are that the candidate will want too much money, or will become bored after a few months on the job. Either way, they are likely to leave once the market improves. Candidates who present their relevant skills and only a few value-adds that complement those will be much better positioned to make it through those filters and at least score a phone screen.

Read More: Too Good?

Exercise Alone Won’t Make You Thin

I have lost over 65 pounds over the past 7 years. Most of that was lost in the first year or two. This was accomplished by burning more calories than what I put in my mouth. One assertion that I hear repeatedly is that you need to do lots of weight lifting to build muscle mass because muscle burns more calories than fat. A recent Time magazine online article called Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin sheds light on the mental rub that I had against that assertion in my mind. The article says “after you work out hard enough to convert, say, 10 lb. of fat to muscle—a major achievement—you would be able to eat only an extra 40 calories per day, about the amount in a teaspoon of butter, before beginning to gain weight.”

Another piece of the article also says   

The basic problem is that while it’s true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn’t necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.

This anecdote rings fairly true. Even on weekends where I train for 6 hours, riding 70+ miles and running 15+ miles I still have the tendency to take in more calories than I burned. My trick, and maybe this will work for you, is to eat my meals more slowly so that I feel fuller quicker. The other half of this trick is that I eat a small snack (e.g. an apple) about 30 minutes before a main meal – this gives me a head start on getting full.

Read More: Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin

Dell Consumer Electronics – 10 Years Later They Still Need Help

Last July, a piece was published on called Delusional Dell Planning a Smartphone. I was reminded of the Dell DJ Jukebox that I purchased back in the 2002/2003 timeframe when MP3 players, particularly the iPod were becoming very popular. My Dell player was heavy, with a non-elegant display and scroll wheel much like the one found on PC mice. I remember that I was pretty happy with this device, until it came time to create playlists and move music around. I don’t recall what software came with it, but I remember purchasing an upgraded version that was good for a lifetime (about 24 months for me until I got my first iPod and never looked back). The whole experience was a pain in the rear! Instead of playlists on the Dell simply being file pointers, it seemed that it was copying the files over again – almost as if it was just copies of the mp3 file in a different folder (it probably was, but I don’t want to assert that here since I didn’t reverse engineer it or research it).

Given that Apple clearly won the mp3 player battle and already had made huge inroads into the smartphone market, I found it surprising that Dell was launching a smartphone. I was even more surprised to learn that it wouldn’t be a Windows 7 phone, but would instead run the Android operating system. Perhaps this would bode well for them since a large number of people I know have embraced Android based phones.

Today I see this article -> Dell’s Aero Smartphone: An Embarrassment to Android. It turns out that the version of Android they launched with, version 1.5, is older than the press release I linked to above indicating that they were planning a smartphone! I cannot imagine the product marketing decision making process that thought it would be ok to launch in August 2010 with an OS that was 16 months behind phones coming into the marketplace today made by LG and HTC.

Dell is great at making desktops and laptops. It is the only brand I have used/purchased since 1998 and I have been through 6 or 7 models at this point. Clearly, they still need help in the development of their consumer portable electronics!