review: Garmin Forerunner 405

I am a part time runner (recently starting up again). However when I am not running I am walking. On a treadmill it’s pretty easy to keep track of your pace (you set it) and distance (it’s right in front of you!). However when it is nice outside I like to walk/run outside.

It would be nice to have a device that didn’t care about where I was, but could track how far and fast I’ve walked outdoors.

Adding in the ability to track how much I’ve climbed/descended would also be a value add.

The Garmin Forerunner is just that device. In fact, you can buy a shoe sensor that let’s you use the Garmin on a treadmill. It also includes a heart rate monitor that allows you to set your max/min and off you go!

Using the USB ANT sensor, you can connect your Forerunner to your computer where you can upload all of your walking/running data into the Training Center Application from Garmin.

So far I have used the Garmin in Paris, Seattle, Dallas, Orlando, Indianapolis, Chicago, San Francisco and New Jersey. Downtown Seattle there were reception issues getting a solid GPS signal but overall the quality and signal have been exceptional.

This is a great device for those who run/walk and like to keep track of what they have accomplished.

There are two additional things to talk about:

1. Virtual partner – allows you to train against yourself or against a preset level.

2. The device is light – all told it doesn’t weigh you down and it functions as a wrist watch so you can wear it all day as well. They have several models – the 405 is the lightest and the least bulky to wear as a watch.

All in all this is an excellent product – if you workout by walking/running it is well worth the investment.



Hit the other blog for serious stuff today…Or if you are into podcasts try my Fred and Ed stories


Ramble 1:

The final four this year – back to normal it’s not all number 1 seeds. Was last year a fluke or a mistake.

Ramble 2:

I love Roy William’s – awesome coach. But I CANNOT ROOT FOR UNC. So, someone else please step up this year. The ESPN boys were dancing about the record tied (18 final fours – tied with U.C.L.A. – but UCL.A. has 10 titles , UNC only has 3 – not a fair comparison – 58% winning percentage versus 21%).

Ramble 3:

Who took away the last 11 years? I was talking to a dear friend Friday night whom I’ve known since before the boys were born. I reminded him that they were 11 today. He said “that’ just not possible.” Can I have a refund on my missing 11 years please?

Ramble 4:

Happy birthday boys!!!

Ramble 5:

I’ve decided to release nickname 2.0, as such am changing my /doc nickname to .doc. Hopefully this will greatly improve my blogs 🙂


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Are you the “real” thing

Do people naturally listen to you? Not because you have a title, but because when you speak they award you with “relevance” and “value”?

We all know people like that, in certain area’s everything they say is critical and we listen to them. Why is that? Not all experts are truly experts. Some in fact are less an expert and more of a “pert.”

How does this “recognition” impact communication? Well the reason for the blog has to do with an old Internet concept. The concept of thread stopper. While I would like to say this is always a positive trait it is not. There is a negative side to the thread stopper, someone who injects so much negative energy that the thread dies.

But for the most part a thread stopped is someone who has the right answer, and the thread does not need to continue. This is the person above, who has the right answer, the right stuff.

I am naming the “real thing” for communication. The person who can end a thread, not from being negative but from the simple fact that they know and understand what they are talking about.

the new me 🙂


Do you know why?

My sons turn 11 in two days. As I think back over the last 11 years it’s been an amazing ride. We’ve gone out of the country. We’ve learned how to read. We’ve laughed, cried and over time have become a family.

I taught them to play Halo. Now they routinely kill me. If I am lucky I can get them with long range weapons, but for the most part they terminate me.

What a ride.

I am very proud of my boys. They are caring people who watch the world around them and are worried. And suddenly that bothers me, that world around me isn’t what I would like it to be for my children. It makes me sad sometimes to think that the world I saw when I was 11 is no longer possible. That carbon pollution and other issues will drive this planet to its knees while my children are alive. I will be long gone by 2040, but my children will be ushering their children into the second half of their life and the world will be a happy place if we don’t make changes now.

Our president speaks of a return to greatness. I postulate Mr.. President that it is not a return to greatness but for us to finally achieve the promise written on the base of the statue of liberty. That we are a nation able, willing and striving to change the world into a better place.

It is time. We can’t forget that we put much of this mess in place. If not us personally then our parents and their parents back for the 10,000 or so years we’ve ruled this planet. It is time for change.

We expect our children to be responsible yet we’ve failed our home. We have not been responsible. We have not acted in a way that shows we are aware of the world around us.

It time for a change.


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The first flower I saw, on a warm spring day

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It was a small flower

Nestled next to the corner of the house

Facing the sun, but leaning

Not quite straight

I leaned down to see it

Breathing softly on its leaves

As I watched it sway in the wind.

This tiny flower

Cupped against the wall.

Why there?

In the infinite space available to it, why there?


Wind blowing the tiny seed

Dropping it to the ground

And with water

Oh so little water

Under the eaves

It grew

A tiny flower

A tiny splotch of color

In the quiet of the yard…

Backups and other dirty habits people don’t tell you about

The poet Sandler Boggs once wrote “Poets who read their poems aloud, may have other nasty habits as well.” Well the nasty habit of backups just saved me more than 5 hours.

About a year ago when they first came out, I leaped onto the windows home server bandwagon. Here is a device, you can easily add storage to, will stream media to your Xbox and your smart phone/ppc device anywhere in your house (or outdoors). And, it backs up your home pc’s. Yesterday one of the kid’s machines had a hard drive issue. In the past I would have trotted out my CD’s and begun a reinstall. Got the machine back on the network and then done a reinstall of all the applications. With WHS, I simply put in the recovery disk and without supervision had a working PC in between 1-2 hours (ok I don’t know exactly how long, I came back after 2 hours and it was done – it could have been 5 minutes).

What would have taken me hours in the past was completed before anyone got home.

Thank you Windows Home Server team – your product is a life saver.


Today, well maybe tomorrow, ok probably next week

I’ve been spending a lot of blog time on communication this week. The concept is simple, two people, four people or any number of people for that matter express thoughts, idea’s, concepts and even argue about a solution. This two way interchange becomes a conversation. This conversation leads to people talking about what‘s next. or trying to solve a problem. or brainstorming.

A conversation can be as simple as who will win March Madness or as complex as how do we solve world hunger. They can last seconds or years. They can be carried out in a manner that involves direct contact or like twitter they can be carried out over time indirectly.

From IM, email, twitter, Facebook, voicemail, telephone calls and in-person/web based meetings you interact with another person to produce a “conversation.”

But we often forget that conversation is an art not a science. That my 🙂 face here, doesn’t always show up in an in-person meeting. A joke told to 3 people when repeated may offend the 4th person. People use the phrase “you had to be there.”

It, communication is something that confuses most people most of the time. It is the thing that makes us human but it is the thing that fails us often.

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/Doc my other blog 🙂 my podcast

A couple more things to think about

Thinking about my review of ActiveWords yesterday. 1 thing I forgot to mention that is an incredible add in is the capitalization directory the tool gives you, in every application. What I type as U.K. you see as the corrected version (caps with periods). Simply this is an amazing tool.

Anyway –

A couple things to think about. I have been building an MCA podcast series for awhile. Thinking about how to help people from a mentoring perspective. I should probably put them on my public podcast but to date I have been posting Fred and Ed stories there.

The next thing is something that has bothered me for awhile (and no it is not how can you reward someone who is walked out of a customer forever again). It’s the very concept of how do you treat people.

The saga of the dishwasher (a comic opera in three parts)

1. Yesterday they delivered the new dishwasher to our house.

2. They were supposed to install it, but upon inspection realized they could not actually install it. Apparently the last installation involved sweating the pipe (you can imagine where I went with that – sweating sounds like a Peter Lorrie tactic or something they use at various places where people who disappear forever are held.) but it actually refers to the concept of a welded pipe.

3. So the guy turns to me and says “I can’t install this.” I said “ok, thanks for dropping it off.” he looked at me for a moment expecting me to get mad. In fact he told me he expected me to get mad. I said why would i get mad? If you can’t do your job because of a problem, it’s not your fault.

And thus the old fat guy (me) starts singing to end the opera. But the problem here is not his perception – in his business that is the right perception. The problem is the change in our culture. I travel a lot. I watch people go to the customer service desk of airlines and yell at people. Why? What good does it do to yell at someone who is just trying to do their job?

I seldom mention religion in my blogs because frankly that is your business not mine. But looking into the religious texts of the world’s major religions all of them speak of treating others as you expect to be treated.

We are all trying to get home. We are all stressed when we travel. I fly over 100 flights a year. I get delayed about 10% of the time. It happens. Look at the HUMAN BEING across from you on the other side of that counter and say – hey can you help me.

They can help you.

And they don’t deserve to be yelled at because there is a thunderstorm in Chicago Ill.

Pay it forward…



Yet another review :-)

The other day I was searching the web for interesting products to put on my tablet pc. I stumbled across a product that in fact actually helps me on every computer I own. They actually encourage you to install it on as many PC’s as you need to try out the product.

It’s called Active Words ( and frankly it is an amazing product. It simply allows you to create mini-macros around the things you do frequently. For example I have two blogs and constantly need to send one or the other as a link to people. Simply type in the URL into the tool, and you can easily type in any application add (two spaces) blog1. That will insert my live blog into the email or document. (works on any of my machines – why? Because I stored my profile in live mesh and can share it with any computer.)

Now the other thing you can do is use the command bar to launch applications easily. Think about a series of activities you do each day with your computer. Launch outlook, launch groove etc. With active words this is no longer 8 mouse clicks, it’s simply typing begin (again on my machine).

I love to walk/run whenever possible and record that activity in Garmin’s training application – I can now launch that by typing run in the command window.

My new thought is to use Active Words to build a proposal generation system. I am playing with that this weekend – I will try and blog about it next week.

Excellent productivity product if you want to save time, effort and keystrokes (and who doesn’t).


Communication failure due to satellite being in the wrong sub earth orbit :-)

Cross promotion – for more architect”y” postings see my other blog

To communicate, I communicate, we communicate, the conjugation of the noun communicate. Or is communicate a noun in the sense that the action doesn’t happen unless it is two way.

What is wrong with communication?

1. Don’t invite the right people to a meeting

2. Leave a voicemail on an issue that required in person communication

3. Leave people off an email thread.

4. Have a hallway meeting excluding people that were not physically there.

5. Have a meeting dominated by one or two people who don’t listen

6. Don’t send out notes on key decisions after a meeting

7. Fail to start on time, or end on time

All of these are specific communication issues that impact the ability of business to function and flow. How do we address these?

How do you solve the problem of communication?

I’ve taken courses over the years, active listening, how to drive participation etc…none of these cover the inherent issues in communication.

So my question for the day – how do we solve the issues behind communication?