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What tools do you use online (and off) on a daily basis to get stuff done.

its a wrench!This is one of those “Hey everybody, what are you using too” type posts, so please do comment!

As for me,, I use a lot of different software, mostly free, and when I’ve gotta pay for it,, I do. (plus I’ve been paying my podcasting bill lately too, more on that later).

Email, well, I’ve got a lot, (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and Godaddy)

Google Reader, (seriously, my feeds list is full like crazy, but I get a ton of info in my eyeholes every day).

Del.icio.us, ooh I do tend to tag a lot! Check out my helpful link RSS feed for DS4tool (its the main link set for DS4 design and a good place to start for business startup prototyping references.

Twitter,, (ok, so I stayed off Twitter for quite a while (I’m looking at you SXSW) but I finally caved, and, wow, it’s just fun).

Plaxo, my Palm Pilot died, (my 5th pilot since 1996, I miss my pilot, I’m waiting till the Centro comes to Verizon, till then, my life is a tiny void, Plaxo has most of my data that I was able to extract,,, I’m never going to get back my recipes though,, I still weep for that category on my palm pilot,,, I weep). Plaxo works great, and they keep improving it. I wish they’d incorporate a neat little simple CRM package (it’s the perfect place and they do such a great job,, however,,,).

ZohoCRM,, I’ve got it, but I’m trying to get around to using it more.

Siphs.com a great way to email your friends things you find.

Remember the Milk (someday, I’ll get around to getting the pro model (especially when I get around to getting a smartphone/blackberry of some sort (ok, an iphone would be cool, but in all likelihood it’ll be a Palm Centro once they come out on Verizon)).

Plaxo, it does a lot, saves all my old Palm data and keeps it current.

As for social networks,, I’m in a lot of them (I only actively use a few). but I can always be found getting things done in terms of Linked in, Myspace, Facebook, Cork’d,mmm,, that’s all the ones I pay attention to.

eFax, good free fax number, then if you want to send a fax,, eh,, it’s pretty cheap, and the darn thing works.

CamStudio of course (don’t worry, soon there’ll be a cast of sorts!) Same goes for Audacity.

OpenOffice,, its lotsa fun, and more affordable than,, well,, if you were to buy some office software made by that operating system company it would cost much more than free.

There’s a bunch more that I do use, but that’s a start!

So what are you using? (yes, I want you to actually leave me a comment,, PLEASE!!!)


Dear Jeeple and Subarunians

jeeple and subaruniansSome people have noted,, cars can be fun (hint,, I’m one of them).

I love formula 1 (in a nearly inappropriate manner). Check out my buddies Brett and Corey over at Formulapod!

This year I attended the Jeepers Jamboree on possibly the most famous off road trail in the US (go ahead argue about it),, The Rubicon. Heck, I even won a $500 gift certificate there too! (and I didn’t even own the Jeep I was riding in!) Thanks Redneck Concepts!

I have friends that own Subarus as well.

These two cars are known for one thing, enjoyment of outdoor pursuits. These are the vehicles that people who live, work, and play outside love to use. Yet neither of these companies seem to have made much of an effort towards developing alternative fueled vehicles.

I can’t think of two companies that would benefit in terms of sales more than them. They have a dedicated outdoor constituent of people who would definitely be considered “green,” forward thinking, and environmentally concious. Yet they don’t seem to have vehicles that help this (though they are tending to be more efficient, they’re not in the hybrid or full electric game yet).

I’m just saying,, I’ll be in the market before too long, and I would love to get a high efficiency model from either comapny (especially after the jamboree,, jeep’n is a blast!).

That’s my bit for today, go out and have some outdoor fun!

Not Invented Here Syndrome,, what’s the cure?

Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine!!!

This is the whine of many companies, and their innovation strategies. It’s interesting, some companies when approached are more than excited to take a look at new ideas from outside sources (as well as signing simple NDA’s (Non-Disclosure-Agreement) that detail that they won’t share the I.P. independently developed and produced with outside developers own time and money).

It’s surprising that so many places dismiss an outside idea. Especially since many outer opportunities, while not fully able to fit with their company can, at least introduce new ideas, thoughts, and concepts to them. Granted, most that look at outer company’s ideas simply find an intellectual property work-around and knock them off to get in the same product category.

Companies should realize that the level of monetary benefit alone exceeds the simple “cost of signing an NDA” (which, to be sure is the simplicity of writing their name, and faxing or emailing a document back). At that point, they can receive the document, prototype, or presentation, and identify the next action (there you go GTDers).

The real thing that companies need to remember is that if someone truly brings you a good idea,, you will NOT LOSE MONEY ON IT. People are bringing you an idea (protected already by at the very least a provisional patent pending, to prove it is theirs). If someone has brought you a beneficial product design, give it a fair shake. You’re only supporting a small group (those who have brought you their idea), while you’re, likely large company benefits every time from an innovative product. With a new product in a new section of your product portfolio, you can always make more money on a idea that you manufacture in house. While the designer you are licensing to may require money, and a percentage of your profits, the money you will be making will always be more than they are making and can make your efforts more than worth your own time.

I would love some feedback on this, but I feel that I’ve got something here. As an independent developer, this is the only way for myself and others that do this sort of thing to succeed. People like me aren’t looking to “take all your money”. Our overhead is usually a computer, a small shop (think a few hand tools), our cost to live, the cost of patenting, and the time and effort to develop a product that seems to fit your company’s industry. It’s often vastly cheaper than having an independent design house do the work (though I do support them entirely), but more often these are people that are seeking you out, and have a passion to help you and your company. These are people that like what you’re doing and want to be helpful, just give em’ a chance is all I’m saying.

Sign that NDA.

See what they have to say.

At worst, make a friend, you never know when that idea will come up again, and be just what your company needs to get ahead!

Just a little food for thought for the day.

Happy Monday!

Stealth mode is very frustrating

stealth mode,, hide in plain sightWell, I’ve been in stealth mode for,,, years.

Why? Why would I not put it all out there, on the line, and say


Look at me toss out idea after idea that doesn’t work!

Oh, yeah,, that’s why.

So coming out of my little shell is a tad odd. There’s a lot to do, and a lot still to be done. Part of this is all just one big “Note to self”. The rest can be chocked up to self serving whining, and offhanded mild publicity attempts.

Like you, I read all the “web marketing”, “Web 2.0”, “social networking” things.

I can be found on Facebook, Myspace, Coroflot, Orkut, Friendster, Linkedin, Cork’d, and a bunch of others I can’t even think of right now.

The problem is, there are so many ways to “be out there,” yet, with “being out there.” What’s really going on? Do you have something to really sell? Are you running a business, or just having fun (and being silly?) Silly is fine, especially if you’re focused on silly,, sometimes, silly is best.

But to do that, you’ve still got to have the knowledge to know just where you’re going with it (plan your silly just a bit here).

As much as I’ve “planned” what I’m going to be doing here, it’s still not as solid as I’d like it to be. I design products and sell them. Personally I prefer to license them to large companies and bootstrap my projects by having big companies buy and sell them. It’s a win win for them, they get a different type of product that is thought out, manufacturable, and works with their current product line. While I get rewarded for my efforts.

I’ll elaborate much more about my process as we go on, but this leads us to the next upcoming post “Not Invented Here Syndrome” and what to do about it.

Also, we’ll deal with the realities of “too many clubs” or put another way,, even if you’re a member everywhere, what should you do with it, and is it worth it?


What’s to be confused about

aarrgh!!!¬†Wordpress!!!So I’ve been working on getting all my “web 2.0” “social networking” schmutz together, and, well, I’m still a tad confused.

So apparently to make WordPress really work for you (read, unlock and host with more data) one must buy some credits (no biggie,, but I didn’t know). No wonder WordPress seems to do fairly well and seems rather professional (cause it really is!)

That would explain the limitations I’ve been fighting with loading simple things like feeds and ads into my site,, I wasn’t allowed (told you I’m not really a web guy!)

So yes, I’m a product designer (what, I didn’t mention that?)

So now I know, once I get some “credits” at wordpress I can pretty much do what I want (then I’ll need to buy more space at wordpress, or I need to host my wordpress site at my Go-Daddy hosting site). Whew!! There’s a lot to this stuff.

Then (after blogging and keeping everything updated, I’ll need to build a store to actually sell the things I’ve been making (we’re still on stealth mode there, but things are coming soon!)

Baby Steps people,, Baby steps,,,

The construction of a complete blog, here goes nothing

put er thereWell, this blog is here for a number of reasons;

  • To publicize my business DS4 Design
  • To share what I find interesting
  • To share ideas and concepts that others my find helpful
  • To occasionally whine about injustice
  • To elucidate ideas
  • To sell my products
  • To share things I’m doing and maybe help other people do the same sort of thing I’m trying to do (in their own way)

Here are the next few things I want to ad here.

A button to link to my linked in profile already found how to do that here.

The feed link to my tumblr posts like here.

to integrate my Twitter feed (follow me freds4hb)

A button so you can buy me a beer (I like beer) here.

As well as monetize it with adsense and other ad revenue (need to learn all about my SEO things here too!)

Of course I use stumble upon, digg, and delicious for SEO type things (still learning there too). I can pretty much be found everywhere as fredshb, so give it a go!

I also want to be sure to have a template that works with all these things I fear my current template isn’t set up to handle a lot of this. We’l see. I’ll be checking myself with my own RSS reader (you DO use google reader right?!)

There’s much more I want to do, but that’s my first bit for starters.

Cheating in sports,, Darn it I have to talk

stop cheating stupidRecently there have been a bunch of idiots cheating in professional sports.

Aside from my simple admonishment you may have noticed to the right,,,

I have a few thoughts about these goings on.

NFL First off, if you ask me about Michael Vick I will sick an Orca on you. That’s not cheating, that’s being a brutal dumbass.

I’m referring to videogate, or whatever you want to call the videotaping excursion made by the patriots. If you don’t know what I’m talking about by now,, well, congratulations for not living in North America, revel in your delicious culture and wonderful home cooked food that we have to go out and spend $100 for two people just to get a halfway decent version of.

The cheating in the NFL was of the most sophisticated, convoluted, and difficult cheat to execute of all. Why do I have any bearing on this conversation? I have previously spent time as a Division I-AA video coordinator (1993 season, Big Sky Conference, I know of which I speak). Anyway, to properly execute this”cheat” you (a coach in the booth with a headset (likely a lower level coach assigned to memorizing completely, the most recent signals executed by the opposing defense, and within the 15 second window of radio operation available during the 25 second play clock) must do the following.

Start the clock,, you now have 25 Seconds:

Offensive coordinator/play caller, or head coach decides what play to call and sends it in over the radio to the quarterback

In the same time frame, across the field, the opposing defensive coordinator/playcaller sends in the opposing play using the radio also (it’s the green dot guy who hears it)

(time cost; 10 seconds) (15 seconds left before play clock expires)(5 seconds left of radio transmission time)

The players with the green dots now tell the rest of their team “the plan”

(Time cost 3 seconds) (12 seconds left before play clock expires)(2 seconds left of radio transmission time)

(only 15 seconds are allowed from the start of the 25 second clock for the radios to transmit to their players on the field)

In this span of time, a coach in the booth with binoculars and who has memorized the opposing team’s defensive calls (likely taking the 15 hours at least of this person’s time the previous week (keeping in mind the NFL coach standard week of 80-100 hours minimum)) must be able to recognize the opposing team’s package (laugh here) and transmit that info to the quarterback (in 2 seconds mind you) so that the quarterback is aware of it and can audible (tell his players by doing that “Peyton Manning thing where you step back and yell a totally new play at your teammates in the 10 seconds you have left”).

There, so that’s what Belichick and his buddies were up to. Easy huh, oh, and you should keep in mind there are anywhere from 10 to 30 defensive packages to identify and some teams even have a second guy out there sending in similar (but different signals as a decoy).

What’s more,, teams have been doing this and much more for years!!! Jimmy Johnson on the NFL on Fox show yelled as much this morning.

The level of technological proficiency and effort in Professional and Collegiate football is far higher than most people expect (these are NOT dumb people running the shows here, no matter how much you think they should have done what you were yelling at the tv from home. You had a replay and Al and John in your ear along with the fact that you thought of it as they were coming up to the line. They had finished their call 15-20 seconds before you and likely did it with a level of information and knowledge crunching that would make a grown man cry.

Did Goodell do a good thing by relentlessly punishing the Patriots and Belichick? Yes, it needed to be done to send a message that it will not be tolerated. The punishment of half a million and loss of a 1st round draft pick are a lesson to the rest of the league.


Let’s move on.


It’s steroids.

They’re wrong.

They’re cheating, STOP IT.

They’ll kill you, they’ll shrink your balls, they’ll make you sterile, give you roid rage, or maybe just end your life and others around you. (stop with the speed too, coffee is legal, and does the same thing,, then, with the shakes you’ll end up letting go of a ball and nailing some guy you didn’t mean to, way to go winner).

Just work hard (hey those football guys get tested for steroids,, don’t use them (those who do are caught), and are twice your size,, why not just work out as hard as they do? Hmmm,, oh right, you’re lazy baseball players.


Blood doping and testosterone are cheating (and boy do they go out of their way to do it).


Because when you ride for 21 days straight (with a one day break) the BIGGEST issue is endurance and recovery. All professional cyclists can ride a bike fast,, faster than the rest of the planet. The thing that makes them better? Breaking through the pain (or recovering quicker,, it’s all the same thing). That’s why it’s illegal, and that’s why that form of cheating works (when you’re not caught).

It’s also pretty freaking dangerous to mess with your blood and hormones,, unless you’re some sort of deity,, and you ain’t no deity!!

Look up at the sign! (stop cheating stupid)

Formula 1

Nigel Stephney from Ferrari stole over 700 pages of technical information from the team that he worked for (Ferrari),, then he secretly gave them to the head designer for McLaren.

THEN he called the head McLaren designer during races and told them when Ferrari was going to pit! (that’s EXACTLY like telling someone what plays you’re going to run for the whole first half in a football game).

The head McLaren designer had spread the information far enough in their organization that the test driver called the race driver and actually emailed him the settings they had stolen and suggested trying them in their wind tunnel and on their car.

That is a bad cheatin!. People that hold Ferrari accountable for blowing the whistle on him are nuts. That’s someone clearly working against them. The fact that he was an in house sabateour in no way makes it their (Ferrari’s) fault (even if there is a red phone)(Shark7 I’m looking at you).

Oh yeah,, and he put a powder on their fuel tanks that likely would’ve destroyed the fuel bladders, or at least made the cars operate poorly and lose. Some guy to have on your team! (don’t worry, they caught the powder and cleaned it out before the race).

Fine for his actions (the Mclaren head of design), $100,000,000.00 to the McLaren race team. Old Nigel, jobless, and likely run out of the country (plus Ferrari is going after him with all they’ve got).

Yes, that’s a hundred million dollars. Bellichick was fined half a mil and no one will shut up about it,, let’s see,, that’s 200 times as much money,, but who’s counting?

Do you think Formula 1 is a big deal? The rest of the planet sure does (I’ll leave my Max and Bernie dialog for later).

In Conclusion (ish)

Ugh,, let’s stop the cheating,, we like the sports for the sports. We know you’re going to knock yourselves out (ok, well maybe not the baseball guys, but the rest of you) trying to beat the other teams. All we ask is don’t cheat.

We want a REAL sporting event to be amazing, and to know it was all done with brains, brawn guts, and technique.

Then, it’s so much sweeter to have a favorite, and cheer with all our might.

Sports are a delightful distraction to watch, and a real joy to participate in.

When the highest levels of competition disillusion us to their reality, we WILL go elsewhere for our authentic sporting events.

Red Bull Flugtag anyone?

(I’m going to go back to watching the Patriots finish tearing apart the Chargers,,, they’re not going to cheat at this game,, the freaking Commissioner is at the game!)