Book review: UX Strategy – How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want

UX Strategy by Jamie LevyBetween my recreational, science fiction reads, I like reading books to brush up on product and business development, software development techniques, management and leadership skills, and business strategy. Strangely enough (tongue in cheek), the emails I get from Amazon are either full of sci-fi books or business books. Therefore, I was not surprised when UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want by Jamie Levy showed up in my Amazon recommendations. Since I work with clients on product development strategies, as well as potential product ideas for my business, UX Strategy looked like it had a lot of potential. The strong reviews on Amazon certainly didn’t hurt its cause, so I added it to my short list of books for 2016.

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Upgrading WampServer from version 2.2 to version 3.0

WampServerIn order to do web development, it’s a good idea to have a local development environment setup. I had setup WampServer on my PC a couple of years ago when I launched my personal WordPress site. It made it much easier to experiment with changes in the WordPress setup and try out different themes.

Recently, I decided to get back into playing around with WordPress and trying some other programming ideas. When I checked the WampServer site, I noticed that they had moved to version 3.0, while I was still on version 2.2. I figured it was time to upgrade. Here are the steps and resources I used to complete the upgrade.

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It’s Time to Drop the ‘Third Party’ Label

After this past election, in which the two party system failed us, it’s time we dropped the label of third-party for candidates who aren’t a democrat or republican. While I can’t say that I relate to Penn Jilette, he’s right. A vote for people representing parties other than democrats or republicans is not a wasted a vote. Plain and simple, it’s a vote.

What’s most disappointing is how the mainstream media, and even prominent figures, continue to label the other parties as “third” parties and a waste of effort. It was very disappointing to see Seth Godin, whose blog I follow, promote the two party system. It feels like we have all been brain-washed to believe that there should only be two candidates that we should consider for office which are put forth by the powers who be. I don’t get it, and I don’t like it.

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Book review: The Wayward Pines Trilogy

Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake CrouchEven though I have a reading list that has grown to out of control proportions of 150+ books strong, I’m always on the lookout for book recommendation sources. I have a few friends and blogs that have become trusted sources. There’s my ever present nemesis – the infamous Amazon recommendation engine. For my latest read, I decided to try a new recommendation source –  Gizmodo, one of the tech blogs that I follow. One of their must reads from a while back was Pines from the Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch. Since I follow the site primarily for tech gadget news, I was a little concerned about the potential quality of their book recommendations, but I figured it was worth at least a shot.

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The Two Party System Has Failed Us

The Two Party SystemThe 1992 election was the first presidential election that I voted in. That makes the 2016 election my seventh presidential election and, by far, the worst of the lot. A process that uses a system of primaries to narrow the field of candidates down to the two who are deemed most fit to serve as the President has failed us.

Before I continue, this post is not about any one candidate, as both candidates this year had their flaws. It is about the system. The system that we’ve put our faith in. The system that is supposed to put forward the two most highly qualified candidates for us to choose between.

How has the two party system failed us?

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Book Review: No Better Time – The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet

No Better Time by Molly Knight RaskinWhile I was a General Manager at Vitesse Semiconductor, traveling to our office in Woodstock, VT was always an interesting adventure. The town of Woodstock is your stereotypical quaint New England town that looks like it came straight off a postcard or out of the set of a Hollywood movie. The office there was a converted ski lodge off Route 12 on the outskirts of town. It wasn’t a big building. There were 2 offices upstairs, and a meeting area, break room, and space for about 10-12 cubicles spread across 2 rooms downstairs. From one of the upstairs offices, you could see the old rope tow that took you up the slight incline that had once serviced a single run ski slope.

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What I Learned from Running a Business for 10 Years

Aumnia, Inc.It was ten years ago this month, October 10, 2006 to be exact, that Aumnia, Inc. officially incorporated. Since that time, it’s been a long road of ups and downs. Given that 90% of all startups fail, I feel very fortunate that the company is still alive and kicking. Some other time, I’ll document the history of the founding and early days of the company. In this post, I’m going to document a few of the things that I’ve learned in 10 years of running the company.
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Book Review: The Gift

The Gift by Dave DonovanI’m not 100% certain how I found my latest read, The Gift by Dave Donovan. My best guess is that my old nemesis, the Amazon recommendation engine, suggested it. The description looked promising, the reviews were generally positive, so I added it to my reading list. After that, I believe it showed up as an Amazon daily deal, so I snagged a copy for my Kindle. According to my Amazon purchase history, that was back in October 2014. OK, so I let it set for almost two years before getting around to reading it. At least it finally made it to the top of my queue unlike some other books that I fear will be buried on my reading list for years to come, or possibly even decades.

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The Third Time Isn’t Any Easier

Courtney and Gregg Borodaty at UC DavisI spent last weekend on the University of California Davis campus. Well, technically, I spent it in the Tercero Housing Area with Lisa doing our third college drop-off with my daughter Courtney. You would think the experience of having done two college drop-offs already would have made the third one easier. It didn’t. I suppose it’s never easy helping one of your children leave home.

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Book Review: High Output Management

High Output Management by Andrew S. GroveGiven how often management theories change and evolve, there are very few “classic” management books. High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove qualifies as one. For those who are unfamiliar with Andrew (Andy) Grove, he was one of the founders of Intel Corporation, became its CEO in 1987, and served as Chairman of the Board from 1997-2005. He was an instrumental figure in many of Intel’s business strategies, particularly the decision to change Intel’s focus from memory chips to microprocessors. In other words, Andy Grove is synonymous with Intel. Even today, a lot of the business practices, strategies, and culture of Intel are a reflection of his philosophies of building and running a successful company.

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