Saturday, July 25, 2009

United breaks guitars

Time was when a consumer was abused by a company they had little recourse. Social networking sites have changed the game, and a bad service provider is subject to retaliation. Some companies are still waking up to that fact.

Case in point. United Airlines breaks a musician's guitar, then refuses to pay for the damage. The musician posts this brilliant song on YouTube about his experience with United, and the video gets 4 million hits in less than three weeks. User-generated content on sites like YouTube have helped chang the balance of power between companies and consumers, mostly for the better.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spinvox: speech-to-human-to-text

If you're a speech-to-text company trying to position yourself in the market as a technology leader, you don't like to see these kinds of news articles about your company. Employees of the company say that they were transcribing voice messages left by users. Spinvox's speech-to-text software is supposed to do it automatically. Thanks to Peter Nann for the pointer to this article.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Studying for the PMP exam

In addition to my job hunt, I'm studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, a certification that is given by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It's a lot of material, but I've finished my Project Management class and I've been doing projects based on PMBOK for a few years, so I should be ready to go by the end of next month.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Digression: Boogie woogie blog

Here's a great blog on record collecting by Ted Barron, with lots of information on my favorites in the blues and folks genres. MP3s for many of the songs that are covered. This is just great. I found an old post about all of the covers of the blues standard "Goin' Down Slow," just as an example (I'm partial to the version by Howlin' Wolf). I could spend too much time on this site if I let myself.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Remarks on The Art of Agile Development

There are a large number of books about agile development, and many more about XP, but the book The Art of Agile Development by James Shore & Shane Warden is really exceptional. In addition to covering the principles and practices of XP, the authors spend a lot of time on the interpersonal aspects of software development. Team building is important on any project. The book shows how XP practices reinforce important values like trust, respect, and teamwork. This book will be a reference that I return to for its clear understanding of agile and, more importantly, how to lead a team. Highly recommended.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Festival for the Eno

I celebrated 4th of July by taking the family to the fabulous Festival for the Eno in Durham yesterday. The music is always great, the crafts booths are interesting, the whole experience is wonderful. If you've never been, then go.