Thursday, August 30, 2007

Communication


Communication
Originally uploaded by Tojosan.
The most important thing in every relationship. Really we spend an immense amount of our lives communicating either actively or passively.

Our society is very judgemental of the ways and what of our commincations, be they spoken, written or physical. Perhaps rightly in some ways though. For few people take responsibility for the how, why and what of their own communications at all.

In this day and age, not only are many more conversations possible but they are actually happenning. It's an exciting time and taking ownership of our side of those conversations is even more important.

For Christians, the Bible speaks on more than one occasion about taking our tongue under control, and beyond that our thoughts. For everyone in general, much worldy advice has been given and I won't belabor that again here.

One point I did want to make is to reinforce that whether we intend to or not, we are constantly in communication with those around us, both in our homes, at work and online. People we've never met and know well in the same day we send out signals too.

My encouragement is that we put our best face forward and attempt to postively communicate. Not just be passive but choose what we say, to whom we say it, and in what manner it gets said. Have a lover? Have you made a connection with that person intentionally lately? How about that coworker two cubes down? Talked about anything but being bored at work?

What are you communicating?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Digitally Bankrupt


Digitally Bankrupt
Originally uploaded by Tojosan.
Or starting over in the online world.

The big thing floating around the online world lately is "email bankruptcy." Have you heard of it? The basic gist is that you clean out your inbox and start fresh. Along with starting fresh you make a conscious decision as to how to handle the flood going forward.

How to do this? Archive, delete or reply to every email in your inbox until it's empty. The follow up step is "inbox zero", in which you keep it at zero unread and unprocessed emails going forward.

This takes a mountain of self discipline, but I started today on my work email, and it was almost refreshing. It's also immediately rewarding as you watch that swell of hundreds of emails dwindle, bits and pieces off to the trash bucket or an archive. Amazingly few you''ll find require any action.

So for me, I'm taking it one step further. I'm declaring digital bankruptcy. I'm cleaning out the in boxes and I'm clearing out that list of websites I promised myself to visit again. Along with that, I've decided for Flickr that I'm clearing the slate of being obligated to comment. This means that if I don't comment on a picture within a couple days of it being posted, I won't hate myself if I don't go back and comment. More of the thought being I won't hold myself accountable to ferret out and comment on all of my contacts latest goodies.

I've got over 100 contacts again, and as part of my digital bankruptcy, I'm planning on cutting back that number and focusing my viewing towards those that reciprocate. (I love being able to use big words.)

So if you haven't commented in a while, or even at least replied to some of my comments on your stream, you may find yourself with one less routine commenter. I love to comment but I find myself most weeks leaving over 100 comments, with the occasional day I make over 100 comments. (for this count, I'm including the ones where I simply write, "great stuff". :) )

Anyway, I suggest that each of us online addicts take a few minutes to reflect on that stuff we have on the old to read list, and either read it, delete it, reply to it, or put it away out of our in boxes and to do lists.

Can you achieve an empty inbox?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Amazon changes it up again - Goldbox

My favorite shopping site, Amazon, is changing up things on the website again. The old Goldbox was a page with "deals" taking up about 60% of the width of the page, and running to the bottom, with the hot list running down the side. The side bar area would list recommended purchase now items with small pictures and price.

Well they've decided to give the stuff we care about more screen real estate.

Check out a screen capture here. I personally like it a lot. No more scrolling and dealing with the small pictures and words, but layout with decent spacing and size. A lot more friendly to a potential purchaser.

I recommend giving it another look if you hadn't in a while. That old Goldbox layout was getting tired and uninteresting. As a side note, they've improved my Goldbox list a good bit since the other day.

So go, I'll wait. Come back and let me know what you think, or give those folks at Amazon a holler and let them know.

Todd

Facebook - Disruptive?

Teresa Valdez Klein talked about Facebook today on the BlogTalkRadio show. The question came up with her about whether Facebook is disruptive. Jim Turner and Tris Hussey were hosting as they delved into the topic.

My opinion? Facebook is dang disruptive. Facebook has become that way as it enables everyone from grandmother's to folks barely out of their teens to hook up, have conversations, and make friends. Those connections and conversations are getting folks to talk about all kinds of things and join up at a national and global level for things such as animal rights, free hug day and more. That sharing and spreading of ideas is disruptive. Of course there is talk about sex too.

One reason these things are disruptive is because of that very break down of barriers. There is much less filtering of what people see and what people say. People like myself that might never come across or bring up a topic on sexual politics of blogging ( a big one I found out) have now not only been exposed but joined the conversation. As the social network continues to grow, so does the spread of these ideas.

One another level, Facebook is disruptive simply for the interruption of flow it provides. If you're like me, when you are at your desk, Facebook is always up in a window. (yes I know about email notifications) But it's worse than email with a near constant stream of those notifications. There are wall posts, messages, pokes, comments, and that's just your personal stuff. Then there is the steady stream of uninterrupted news generated by your friends. You see everything that happens by them and to them, and through them. The news stream can be completely replaced in minutes during a busy day.

What keeps is so disruptive? Burgeoning numbers of users and applications keeps the tide rising. For example, the Twitter app means I not only get Twitter notes on Twitterrific but also on Facebook. Likewise some other applications that dual notify.

What's your opinion? is Facebook disruptive? Is that even the right word to use? Comment, blog, vlog or email me about it.
tojosan --- gmail.com

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Amazon - Tufte and Power Tools - Gold Box Booty?

So Amazon, just when I think you're getting me down pat, you toss me up something like this:

As you can see down the page, power tools and Tufte books in the same selection. Ahem?

I've marked a couple of his books, so I'll give you those as recommendations, but seriously, power tools? I don't own but one, and that's a drill. I've never rated any tools. I've never put any tools on a wish list. I don't think I've even ever looked at a tool on Amazon.

Aside from this though. I think your team is hitting the nail on the head and really got the buzz going, and really drill in the buying habits.

(Note: I do all but 1% of my online buying from Amazon and I'm not in anyway related to or involved with them other than being a big fan.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Scrabulous on Facebook - Ease of use in the game

If you can't get enough of Scrabulous on Facebook then join the club. Minutes after posting a host for two games players had already nabbed them up.

I'd like to share a little bit about what makes getting in a game so easy. First, let's check out the Scrabulous screen for reference.

Scrabulous Application on Facebook

Okay from left to right in the area just below the Scrabulous logo:
1) New Game - creates a new game and allows the invite of up to three friends to play
2) My Friends - displays all of your contacts that have the Scrabulous application
3) Browse Users - displays a random selection of Scrabulous users
4) Host A Table - brings up the create game interface; it allows the creation of up to 5 hosted tables.
5) Join Open Game - this displays a list of games waiting on opponents - this supports filtering on dictionary, game type, and speed.

If you haven't noticed, all of the important clickies underneath the logo are about getting into a new game or games. They could have easily made this more difficult but instead have made it the easiest thing.

To continue on the easy to use interface, directly beneath those items is a navigation bar series. Items included are Current Games, Email Games, My Statistics, Global Statistics, My Bingos, Settings, and Completed Games.

The only option perhaps not totally obvious is My Bingos. That option shows your highest scoring 7 tile plays.

Overall, the ease of use for Scrabulous, specifically the one-click to game, makes it my favorite application on Facebook.

Do give it a try at http://apps.facebook.com/scrabulous/.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Is Pownce Pro worth $20?

Follow the discussion here.

What features would you like to see in addition to no ads and the 100MB limit?

Reply here or to the ongoing Pownce discussion.

Need a Pownce invite? Leave me an email at tojosan - - gmail.com.

Facebook for $20 a year? Facebook value? Facebook Pro?

So what would you pay to go pro on Facebook? If you'd pay, what features would you expect to see for that price? What value added items would make you go pro?

Here's my short list
---------------
1. No ads
2. RSS of News Feed
3. Live chat
4. Custom layout of home page
5. Off page posting widget/tool/binary/plug-in
6. Facebook blog widget - like a window on my Facebook news

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Facebook vs AOL (America On Line)

Back in the old days, when AOL was only dial-up, it was the original walled fortress of content. Now more than one person on the net claims Facebook is a content castle also. I'd like to do a little rundown to compare; has Facebook become the new old AOL?












FacebookAOL
Log-in Required ContentYesYes
Log-in required for contact infoYesYes
Messaging requires log-inYesYes
Groups and Apps - log-in reqiredYesYes


Anyway, you get the gist. That being true there are one or two key differences.
My biggest one? AOL was much prettier!
2nd biggest? AOL costed the big bucks!

Which do I prefer? Which have I found to be more fun? The better value?

Facebook. Again, this comparison is to the old locked down AOL, not the music selling, chat sharing, and open group AOL of today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What to do when Facebook Scrabulous is offline?


So what is a Scrabulous addict to do when he can't play on Facebook?

Why go visit the Scrabulous site of course!! Yes, that great Facebook game has a website where you play...get this...without Facebook. Ha.

Here's a shot of the site in case you don't believe me.



So yes, you can play there too. The website has some neat features. There are chat gaming rooms, email gaming, and multiplayers Scrabulous play. It literally takes a minute to sign up. The site allows you to link your Scrabulous ID to your Facebook Scrabulous setup.

Go, check it out, find me and send a challenge! Click the screen shot to be taken to Scrabulous.com. Same old id: tojosan

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Blog Tip #47

Are sexist remarks killing off female videos on YouTube?



See what EmergencyCheese, aka James Kotecki, and The Resident, aka Lori Harfenist, have to say about that topic. Are negative comments directed toward women on YouTube driving them away? What does that communicate about the commentors? Is this a trend?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Embedded SQL - RPGIV/RPGLE - One more gotcha

One thing that got neglected on the earlier gotchas is an important one, it's about organizing your SQL statements.

Since adding SQL seems fairly straightforward, one might be tempted to miss one key thing, the order of the SQL statements is important.

The SQL commands are actually compiled prior to the program as a whole. The SQL pre-compiler works top to bottom. This means that your order must follow this pattern:

PREPARE - optional, but must be first if included
DECLARE
OPEN
FETCH
CLOSE

Get them out of order and even if the compile works, unexpected results will occur.

Searches leading to tojosan.com indicate a strong interest in more embedded SQL examples. There are a couple posts already on this site, here, and here.

Expect more SQL posts in the near future and thanks for visiting.
Drop me a line if there are specific things you are interested in seeing articles on.
tojosan - gmail.com

Thursday, August 09, 2007

RPGLE Wiki?

So there are a few Series i and AS/400 RPG sites out there. Some of them have immediately accessible content, while others require registration.

What I have yet to find is a wiki devoted to Series i and AS/400 programming. Even a wiki limited in focus to modern RPGLE and RPGIV would be a boon.

Anyone interested in something like that? Do you think it would be useful? Would you contribute?

If you are interested at all, do leave a comment or drop me an email.

tojosan - at - gmail.com

Thanks,
Todd

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Photo Contests on Flickr

Two groups are hosting photo and narrative contests on Flickr.

The first is in the So Possible group. It involves a picture taken in August, and your success story in the description. The rules are in the link.

The second is in the Dining Out with Tj group. It involves a food picture, taken in August, and the narrative should include a food photography tip or advice. Again, the rules are in the link.

Please jump in and participate!

Wiki SharePoint Knowledge Sharing Free Microsoft?

So many sides to consider when you are considering sharing knowledge.

I've been asked to figure out where a Wiki has advantages over SharePoint and what are weaknesses in SharePoint. The focus is around getting together what is now tribal knowledge into an easy to access and easy to maintain place. it must be searchable and have a low threshold for user entry to editing.

The company is really big on Sharepoint and it is quickly becoming the company standard for the web. Specifically, they've coded the entire intranet as one big SharePoint site.

My big argument against SharePoint has the been the high overhead of just getting in and making a new page and topic. SharePoint asks you several questions before it creates a document. Document is the generic term used in SharePoint to represent a page, which could be list or page of web parts, or an html page and so on. SharePoint also requires a sign on to the server where it resides in addition to a network sign on.

Another downside, and this may be configuration, is that SharePoint creates all pages under the root page. All pages are .aspx pages also.

On the other hand, a wiki page is stored as plane text. Pages are created on the fly, and are immediately linked from the page the link was created on. All pages are automatically browser neutral. No special permissions are required to edit or create a page, nor are there a series of questions to answer. it's as simple as create the link, click on it, and start typing.

SharePoint does have alerts. Alerts aren't RSS, they email individuals who have set that particular document to alert them when it changes. Wiki supports RSS, but since the company doesn't support RSS readers, alerts is pushed.

SharePoint has access controls. The wiki software we have doesn't appear to, but who cares, my vision is that the information is easy to get too and easy to edit. Easy is a requirement if people are going to adopt it.

Please, someone, anyone, share your thoughts on this!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Quick Thought: Social Economics and Sports

Tonight on me.dium (check it out and come back), someone asked if me and the other me.diums had any thoughts on the upcoming college football season. It suddenly occurred to me that the whole arena of social economics around sports has changed.

No longer am I isolated while working away on my computer, no TV in sight. No more sitting on the Cardinal's homepage to catch the latest play by play. I have Twitter, and Me.Dium, Jaiku and IM, and trust me, the instant Barr Bonds hit 756, I knew.

You don't have a to have a big screen TV with Picture in picture to follow three games at once. Heck, anyone with an internet connection now has more game update choices than there are games being played.

No more playing nice to your neighbor to keep up on the big plays. Heck, they'll be on a website in minutes, if not live. Want to hear the announcers in Spain in Spanish, you've got it. Missing your favorite local game because it didn't sell enough tickets? No problems, the interweb has you covered.

The power of the media and big league sports to control our experience has come to an end. With the rising ticket prices putting an evening of baseball at over $100 for a couple, the economics puts YouTube at the front of the class! Especially if you have AppleTV.

Web 2.0 and beyond is raising the bar on the media's sharing of content. The big players are getting on board slowly, but not quick enough. Several companies are sueing Google over YouTube and the ability for folks to share things that MIGHT be copyright protected, but more than likely the problem is that the free content is more entertaining and interesting than what's on the nightly news, and a dang bit more relevant sadly.

/rant off

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The world of bionics is real for a soldier

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cell Phones at Movies?

So you go to see a movie these days and they have commercials before the screenplay starts. They even shows those before the theater's own messages. So guess what the number one commercials are for? Cell phones.

Which wouldn't seem so odd, if one of those commercials didn't have a reminder to turn off your cell phone in the theater. Which the theater's messages consist of two reminding you to be quiet, one of which specifically mentions turning off cell phones.

Gah! So is it the theater choosing those adds and then reinforcing it by reminding you to turn them off? Or is it a package of advertising, where they get whatever the firm sends them?

Conspiracy or poor happenstance?

Scrabulous - Facebook application of Scrabble fun

On Facebook yet? Well if not, go join now. Back? Okay if you love word games, especially Scrabble, then go back and add the Scrabulous application. It's Scrabble but with more options.

You can play a move each day, a move a couple of times per day, or play live. Don't have built in partner? Create an open game and opponents will come to you.

Check out a screen shot.



The application is very smooth. When it is your turn to move, you simply click on and drag over the tile onto the board. Let it go and get another. Once you build the word, click the submit button. The application verifies and then scores your word.

All the fun without the pain. No difficulty finding an opponent, no figuring out the score, and no accidental illegal plays.

Care to challenge me?
I'm here on Facebook.

Wiki at work - Business or company wiki?

Does your business or company make use of a wiki? Had much success? I've been exploring making use of one for our team at work, and ran across this testimonial page on MediaWiki.

The page includes testimonials from Intel, Novell, and others. The numbers appear to reflect a strong commitment from the company to the wiki as well as interest from their employees.

Introducing a blog to team at work demonstrated how quickly people can get started. Two of my coworkers made changes within minutes of receiving the link to the homepage. That was with zero instructions. One of those is a team leader.

Though there was immediate positive response and use, it seems the manager is reluctant to adopt this "new" technology. He's a good guy though and wants to make sure we don't go down this path of using "unapproved" and "nonstandard" software when a "corporate approved" application would work.

Due diligence aside, it makes me wonder how any new and useful application gets started at a big company. How does Google do it?

So back to the question; are you making use of a wiki at your job?

Seller's Take Note

Excite News - Court Orders Man to Complete eBay Deal

Short recap: Man offers plane on eBay, gets reserve price met, tries to back out...guess what?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

RPGLE and RPGIV ON-ERROR Use

With the advent of /FREE code in RPGLE, the ease of use of MONITOR and ON-ERROR have become more common. Our shop has made a silent shift to wrapping questionable data conversions and commands where failure is more likely.

The setup is really straightforward.

MONITOR;
myNumber = %Dec(myString);
ON-ERROR;
myNumber = 0;
ENDMON;

This is a simple example but it is really the only pattern for these commands. Some options are provided though with the ON-ERROR command.

ON-ERROR supports four types of error catching.
*PROGRAM
-Handles all program-error status codes, from 00100 to 00999

*FILE
-Handles all file-error status codes, from 01000 to 09999

*ALL
-Handles both program-error and file-error codes, from 00100 to 09999. This is the default.

* a specific error code
Example: ON-ERROR 1211
... handle file-not-open

A series of ON-ERROR commands can follow a single MONITOR command. IBM provides he following example.

C MONITOR
C READ FILE1
C IF NOT %EOF
C EVAL Line = %SUBST(Line(i) :
C %SCAN('***': Line(i)) + 1)
C ENDIF
C ON-ERROR 1211
C ... handle file-not-open
C ON-ERROR *FILE
C ... handle other file errors
C ON-ERROR 00100 : 00121
C ... handle string error and array-index error
C ON-ERROR
C ... handle all other errors
C ENDMON

Most frequently you can simply code ON-ERROR with no parameters.

A good use might be to monitor %OPEN and %CLOSE on file operations.

The MONITOR/ON-ERROR/ENDMON block can also aid in testing, allowing you to code around functions that don't work, but do compile.

Please do post comments, questions or examples. Also, consider emailing me with article suggestions at tojosa - at - gmail.com.

ILE RPG SETLL without keys

RPG has long supported the use of SETLL without keys. However many programmers will shy away from it's use in favor of other manipulations.

The normal use of SETLL is with a full or partial key, or a relative record number. SETLL can also be used with the figurative constants, *LOVAL and *HIVAL.

SETLL *LOVAL {file}
Using SETLL with *LOVAL positions the file so that the first read retrieves the record with the lowest key.

SETLL *HIVAL {file}
*HIVAL positions the file so that a READP retrieves the last record in the file, or a READ receives an end-of-file indication.

*LOVAL is most commonly used to reset reading at the beginning of a keyed file.

*HIVAL is really most useful when the desire is to use the last record in a file.

The most important thing to keep in mind about SETLL, even with using *LOVAL and *HIVAL is that no data read is done from the file.

Thanks for reading and please do post comments and questions or email me suggestions at tojosan - at - gmail.com.

Built-in Functions or BIF list for RPGLE and RPGIV

Built-in functions are one of the best features of the modern RPG language. What are they? Well here's what the IBM website has to say:

"Built-in functions are similar to operation codes in that they perform operations on data you specify. Built-in functions can be used in expressions. Additionally, constant-valued built-in functions can be used in named constants. These named constants can be used in any specification."


Some of my personal and frequently used BIF are:

%EDITC
non-float numeric expression:edit code {:*CURSYM | *ASTFILL | currency symbol}
string representing edited value

%FOUND {file name}
'1' if the most recent relevant operation (for a particular file, if specified) found a record (CHAIN, DELETE, SETGT, SETLL), an element (LOOKUP), or a match (CHECK, CHECKR, SCAN)

Built-in functions, BIF, replaced many standard commands, such as SUBST, is now a BIF, %SUBST.

I highly recommend printing out the list and keeping it handy as a reference.
Need help using one of these? Drop me a comment or email me and we'll see what we can do.

The full list with explanations can be found here.

email: tojosan - at - gmail.com