Sunday, January 29, 2012

Make your own lava lamps

What you need:

- Clear bottles (we used old Gatorade bottles)
- Canola Oil
- Tap water
- Food coloring
- Alka Seltzer tablets
- A flashlight

Fill the bottle 1/4 full of water and the rest of the way with Canola oil. (leave about 1" at the top)

Place 5-8 drops of water based food coloring in the bottle and let them settle to the bottom.

Drop in an Alka Seltzer tablet, close the bottle and place your flashlight below and enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Most amazing rescue picture I've ever seen

Dramatic rescue Firefighters rescue a family from a car dangling over a bridge after a fiery crash, Jan. 12, on Highway 101 near Buellton, Calif. The accident claimed the life of a truck driver.
A team of Navy Seabees happened to be passing by the scene, and the fire crew used a Seabees heavy forklift to stabilize the dangling car. A mother and her two daughters were taken to the hospital.
Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara News

Monday, January 9, 2012

Where was I that day? (Using ifft, that's where)

In my business, we track everything. I mean everything. After 40 years of history, we know how many calls to it takes on average to secure a new client.

Knowing this is step 1, creating a business plan to achieve your goals is step 2, and tracking it, well.. that's a pain in the you know what. Until today.

Enter ifttt, prounounced like "lift" with no "l", it is an acronym for If This Then That.  When you use ifttt you write a "recipe" of tasks that follow: If this, then that.

For example, I read Twitter on the web, my iphone, my ipad, on the go etc.  When I find a tweet interesting I would decide to either email it to myself, save it to instapaper, favorite it on twitter, or bookmark the article.  A hot mess.  Enter ifttt:  I connected it to twitter and wrote this recipe:

If I favorite a tweet
Save it to Evernote
Email me the tweet

I also wrote a recipe to remind me to wear boots to work if it's going to snow tomorrow:

If it's going to snow tomorrow in zip code 18040
Text me to "snow's a comin', wear your boots"

You can write recipes using many services, stocks, weather, phone call, twitter, facebook, foursquare, and a ton more...  but today I'm solving the question:  Where was I that day?

Back to work. We use to track our calls - so at the end of the day or end of the week, each rep needs to go into SFDC and enter them.  Most importantly, they need to actually remember who they saw and when they saw them.  Needless to say - after a crazy day/week, it's not easy to remember.

The reps usually rely on memory, or an entry into their calendar, or... napkins?  This is where iffft can help:  Create a foursquare account and connect it to your google calendar.  When you check in, it is forwarded to your google calendar (viewable on your smartphone or online), and time stamped.  It looks like this:

Are you using ifttt?  I'd love to hear your recipes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

iOS multitasking

Fraser Spears has published two posts detailing how multitasking and iOS works.

Most people (including myself believe)

All those apps in the multitasking bar on your iOS device are currently active and slowing it down, filling the device's memory or using up your battery. To maximise performance and battery life, you should kill them all manually.

Fraser summarizes by saying
Put simply: you do not have to manage background tasks on iOS. The system handles almost every case for you and well written audio, GPS, VOIP, Newsstand and accessory apps will handle the rest.
Here's my personal experience:  On my iPad 1 the memory management is terrible.  After using my typical 8 or so apps for about 30 minutes I see a noticable slowdown in processor speed and memory.  I get a lot of crashes when using Twitter and Flipboard.  To combat this, I purchased an app called System Activity Monitor, which in part kills all open apps and frees memory.  If iOS perfectly manages the backgrounding of apps and memory why is this happening to me and why does System Activity Monitor help so much?

Fraser summarizes his most recent post by writing:
If I can summarise my point: killing apps manually is fine as a troubleshooting step but it shouldn't be part of your daily routine.
Well, I summarize by writing that if I wait until the memory usage is visibly sluggish and then kill the apps by double clicking the home screen and then cleaning the rest of memory with System Activity Monitor, the device returns to it's perfectly usable state.

In this picture  I have 16 "open" or "recently used" apps in the background and the phone is noticeably sluggish and I launch System Activity Monitor.  Note the Free Runtime Memory when these apps are "naturally backgrounded".

The apps are:

Air Video

In this shot, after about 10 seconds System Activity Monitor has done it's thing and freed up about 300+ MB of space.  Back to normal. 

 What say you?  Why is my experience so different from Fraser's?