New Blog Focus

Ok, so if you’ve noticed, I haven’t really posted all that much over the last couple of months…free time certainly does have something to do with it, but I think the real issue is that I’m not doing very much tech stuff that would be interesting to post about.  I can’t really talk about my research project because it involves some confidential information and such, so that’s out, and right now, there aren’t really a lot of things, life wise, going on that would be of interest.  One thing I’ve been wanting to do is to work through the ton of self-help / personal productivity books (e.g. Getting Things Done, How to Win Friends & Influence People, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, etc.) so what I’m planning on doing is allocating some team each week to make progress on those books (and perhaps some websites will be included too if useful) and then I’ll try to condense the knowledge into a blog post (e.g. 1 or 2 chapters condensed into a page or so).  Of course, this isn’t a substitute for reading the books (the two I mentioned are great BTW), but maybe it’ll be helpful to some of you out there – and it’ll get me going towards my goal of getting more professional development into my week and keep my blog active – so a win-win. 🙂  I’m probably going to start next week, so be watching for these new posts…hopefully they will provide some new perspectives – I know I completely missed a lot of this stuff in my CS program since business and professional development isn’t even an afterthought in technical programs. 

If any of this is interesting to you, you should check out “The Personal MBA” ( there are some great links there about business & professional development – tons of topics.  It’s a fairly new online community so it’s still growing, but it’s certainly worth a look as-is.  One thread there was all about “Does College Matter?” which was interesting.  (I believe college is extremely important – depending on what you want to do and the effort you’re willing to put into it.  If you’re not going to put forth the effort and just want to party, then no, you’re going to get out what you put in which won’t be anything of value.  But if you work to make the most of the experience, then you’ll get more value than you can imagine.  The other thing people miss is that they feel college is teaching you material – which it does to some degree – but the key point of college is to teach you to learn – NOT teach you subject X…but that’s a post for another day. 🙂 )

More to come…soon…

Switching Cellphone Carriers

Over the last few months, I had very bad reception with my cell carrt ier, Sprint PCS.  Now I originally went with them because they were supposed to have the clearest calls of any of the major carriers, plus they had pretty good deals on cellphone data service.  That was over a year and half ago – the signal was exactly what I expected for the first year or so – although it didn’t work indoors (well, in a building with thick walls), I could always step outside and get a perfect signal.  These days, the phone was dropping audio quite bad, not getting a good signal in places it used to, and sometimes incoming calls wouldn’t register on my phone – I could have a perfectly strong signal and then I get a voicemail (and they didn’t dial my voicemail directly – so there should have been a ring first).  Anyway, I decided to give Cingular a try.  Nearly everyone I know around here uses Cingular, so I could at least cut my rate plan in half since I can use free mobile-to-mobile to do most of my talking.  The whole process of switching carriers was surprisingly simple…I brought my old cell number over to Cingular since it’s out on a lot of resumes and such, and that wasn’t a problem at all – in fact, after the new account was activiated it took less than an hour or so for my phone to start working with my old number which was great.  As far as phone choice, I originally chose a Treo 650 – a bit expensive (heck, very expensive) but I thought it would be useful enough to justify the purchase.  Turns out that the Treo I got was probably a bad unit – outgoing calls were garbled and connecting to the data network worked only about 50% of the time without restarting the phone.  I really wanted to like the Treo – I used to own a Visor handheld (a VisorPhone too actually) which I liked until I tried to program it. 🙂  But beyond the problems using the phone on the Treo, it also reminded me of just how much I’ve come to love PocketPCs.  So yesterday, I took the phone back to Cingular and now I’m the owner of a new Audiovox SMT 5600 Smartphone (powered by Windows Mobile).  I’m going to post a review of the phone in a couple of days – I just want to use it a bit first.  Thus far (about a day with it now), I really like it.  It does have a couple of flaws, one of which is a pretty big one (involves bluetooth headset and a locked phone keypad…more later), but I want to see if there are any fixes out there since the phone has been out for a bit before I talk more about them since they may be non-issues.