Only you can prevent ...

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Earlier this month, a wildland fire burned in Gorman and Lebec - the gateway to our mountain communities. As you can see from the picture I took, the fire burned everything, leave a creepy landscape behind it. Today, a 17,000 acre fire rages in the mountains between Los Angeles and Ventura counties. I'm thankful for the heroes - the men and women who labor tirelessly on our behalf to protect our lives and our homes.


If you want to follow the track of the fires, visit my WeatherCam and look for the link to "Wildfire Maps" on the right column. That link will take you to the GEOMAC wildland fire page which provides real-time satellite updates on wildfires across the U.S.

PowerBook to Tablet PC convert. Surprised?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005
My friend, Michael Sampson's just packed his bag for a business trip. Normally he packs a PowerBook and his Tecra M4 Tablet PC.

Click here to see what Michael packed for today's business trip.

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The perfect Tablet PC highlighting application

Friday, September 23rd, 2005
I'm looking for an application that will allow me to highlight, organize, and retrieve specific selections of text - based not on what I write, but on what I highlight.

Many note-taking programs for the Tablet PC, such as OneNote or GoBinder, will allow me to highlight text in a variety of colors. Acrobat even allows this, though with a limited interface. I want to do more ... It's the retrieval part that is most important to me. I want to search and retrieve, not by text, but by the color of what I've highlighted.

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A compelling reason to use a Tablet PC

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005
Tonight I heard a very compelling reason for using a Tablet PC and I heard it on the Tablet PC Show #23. Twenty minutes into the show, Tracy Hoooten, of the Student Tablet PC Blog explained to James Kendrick why she preferred the Tablet PC over a traditional laptop:

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What would you reach for?

Monday, September 19th, 2005
This weekend, a friend asked me the acid test question for any PDA or Tablet PC user:
Eric, if right now, during this phone call, you wanted to quickly make some notes or map out an idea, what would you reach for?

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E-Mail: A help or hindrance?

Saturday, September 17th, 2005
Kelly Forrister, of The David Allen Company, asks the question:
"What would your job be like without email? Would you get more done or less done?"
Without email, it would be very difficult for me to do the things I do. Thanks to email (and I'm lumping IM in here, too), I'm able to serve a global client base from anywhere. While I would certainly be more focused without the disruption of email and other electronic messaging tools the nature of my work would be changed; I would be limited to serving only those people I could meet with, and the time it would take to get things done would increase significantly if I had to work without email.

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Real-time Air Traffic Monitoring

Saturday, September 17th, 2005
I'm a big fan of visual mapping tools. I constantly use my white boards, my tablet. and yes Michael, even paper, to map out and visualize my thoughts and ideas. As a visual person, I lean towards tools and technologies that allow me to "see" what's going on.

I understand that folks who drive in Los Angeles traffic like to look up the CalTrans real-time traffic information to "see" what freeway conditions are like. The freeway is 18 miles away and the nearest traffic signal is over 50 miles away so, I usually don't need that kind of information. From my vantage point high in the mountains, however, I see another kind of traffic information. Day and night, I see number of planes in flight corridors overhead at extremely high elevations. Although cannot usually hear them, I've often wondered where they were going. I don't have to wonder any more...

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Digital Sandbox Mystery Computer Identified

Thursday, September 15th, 2005
Congratulations, Chris, you guessed it! That's my Heathkit H8 microcomputer kit from the late 1970's. I used that computer for many years; it helped launch my career in computer consulting. It served me well.

The one Megahertz 8080 CPU was fast, but I wanted better performance for my number-crunching, so I built an after-market CPU upgrade kit to allow me to use a Z-80 processor, which I then clock-doubled to TWO megahertz. Man, was that fast! I still have all the accessories for this beauty. While my classmates were buying cars and tricking them out, I built computers and poured money into upgrades. (So what's new?) The only accessory I do not have, but always wanted, was the paper-tape reader/punch. Not that I needed it - cassette was cheaper and faster - but paper tape was cool.

Here's a photo of the H8 computer today, as it sits in my office.

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Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005
Things have been quite busy for me, here in the Digital Sandbox; I'm getting ready to deploy a productivity enhancement system for a client's organization, complete with document imaging, distributed action management, and full wireless access using a Treo 650, SprintPCS, and Pylon Anywhere. Right now, I'm buried in wires, software, and product manuals.  (I know, a "Productivity Enhancement System" sounds like an offer for a vitamin pill or something you might expect to read in a spam email. It's not. If you knew what's going into this box, you'd want one. But that's a blog entry for another day.)

Since I don't have much time to invite guests over to the Digital Sandbox I thought I'd treat you to a mystery tour and see if you can identify the object in the photo.

I'll start by posting a close-up of something. Then, I'll ask for folks to see if they can identify what the item is and tell me what they know about it. The more "mature" readers of this blog may even remember using some of the items that I'll post here. If no one comes close, then I'll zoom out or add other hints.

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Why students need Tablets

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005
You'll probably find this video of interest, even if you're not a traditional student,

James Kendrick posted a link to a 3 minute video by Scott Guthrie that answers the question “why students need tablets.” I agree with James' assessment that it's well worth the 3 minutes. It's a fun look at the "potential" for Tablet PCs as a computing platform; the video showcases a variety of Tablet PC productivity applications.

The video has two parts: life before tablet, portrayed in dull black and white, and life after tablet, in Technicolor with the Charlie Brown theme. No reboots are shown in the video, leading us to conclude that the experience was a happy one for everyone In the video. :-)  (Sorry, I couldn't resist) Seriously, I'd like to see a similar video featuring business applications. There are many. I'll start collecting ideas.

Testing new DominoBlog features

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005
Unless you are interested in web content management in Lotus Notes, you'll probably want to skip this test blog entry.

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It’s time to be very efficient

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005
Sometimes, the best boost in productivity comes during a crisis. Why? Because true priorities become very clear, allowing goals reshuffle themselves according to new priorities. The unimportant things become truly unimportant allowing the important things to surface.

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Speechless, but hopeful

Friday, September 2nd, 2005
I've not blogged in a few days, but not because I had nothing to say. We do not have television in our home, but, reading the news, I can imagine the horrors that the media must be playing endlessly. I'm speechless.

In light of the tragedy unfolding in our country in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, I could not think of anything to say that would add significant value to the blogosphere. I will share that as my family deals with our own medical crises, we continue to pray for those affected by hurricane Katrina. We pray for the health and safety of the men and women who are working tirelessly to rescue survivors. For the survivors, we pray for their recovery, their healing - both physical and emotional - and for their spiritual comfort, too.

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