A few years back I read a post on Matt Cutts’ blog called 30 days. I tucked the idea in the back of my mind with the idea that someday I’d start something similar. About a year ago, I read an article on Zen Habits about flossing. Again, I thought someday. About six months ago, a book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life In Business by Charles Duhigg that made the rounds on few of the podcasts that I listen to at work. Then I saw another post on Zen Habits titled 5 Steps to Create a New Habit in February. Last month, I finally decided to figure out what this whole habit forming thing was all about.
Out of all of the articles I listed, one idea stuck in my head: just floss one tooth. Okay, that’s stupid. Why just one tooth? It seemed strange to focus on something that simple. Then it clicked. It’s not about that one tooth, it’s about setting time aside to do it. Once I was in the mindset that I
needed wanted to floss, I reminded myself: just floss one tooth. Once the floss came out, it wasn’t just one tooth.
I have to admit, I broke one of the rules of habit forming. I decided to do two things in April. Since I assumed the flossing thing would be easy, I decided that I’d stop eating deep fried food. I stopped eating bread last fall (at least until I took a vacation to Las Vegas in February), so the idea was just to see if I could do it. A little side note for those of you that don’t know me: I don’t eat at home, I eat out twice a day and rarely have anything besides iced tea in my refrigerator.
The most surprising thing about the deep fried food challenge was that all I needed to do in order to be successful was aware of what I ordered. I knew that there were a couple of things that I needed to avoid:
Being a purist, there were three times that I cheated on the challenge: (1) I didn’t realize it was April 1st and I had two crab rangoon at lunch, (2) there was a deep fried onion that snuck into a Philly brisket that I was eating, and (3) one bite of a homemade authentic Thai appetizer that a friend’s mom (from Thailand) made. I probably made up for that by waiting until May 3rd to have any sort of deep fried food (tortilla chips) and it wasn’t until May 10th that I had fries; nothing deep fried since as I’ve decided to continue to avoid deep fried food.
Outside of the start really small idea, the best hack I can offer you is Jerry Seinfield’s productivity secret. Another simple, but effective hack. Pull out a calendar every time you complete your goal every day and cross the day out. Look at the calendar and make sure you never miss an X on consecutive days. If you miss two days, start over.
For May, I wanted to get back into the whole working out routine. The simple goal: one plank for one minute every day. What it really means: three planks for at least one minute and 200 crunches front and each side. Just remember that the idea is to set your goal really small so you can trick yourself into doing something more complicated. I’ll write an update at the end of May with how it went.
This is a real quick post to boast about my fantasy football teams this year. I’m in three leagues this year with the 2nd overall pick in the first draft and 6th overall pick in the next two leagues.
Note: Waived Carson Palmer for Rashard Mendenhall shortly after the draft.
QB-RB-RB-WR-WR-TE-D-K (8 BE)
I wasn’t around for this draft, I had my brother draft the best available player based on a spreadsheet from The Football Guys for this one. My team is very deep on running backs on this team, but I probably can’t complain there; unfortunately, someone is bound to get hurt. I drafted three RB’s last year in this league and Jamal Charles went down with the torn ACL early; also lost Kenny Britt early last year in this league as well.
QB-RB-RB-WR-WR-TE-FLEX-D-K (7 BE)
Overall, I’m pretty happy with this team. My only complaint is that Eric Decker is my FLEX start for week one when I’d rather have a running back in that spot. A healthy Rashard Mendenhall should make this team a lot better since I’m so light on backs; Jones-Drew coming back early from the holdout hurt Jennings value, but I have a lot of added value if MJD or Reggie Bush goes down to injury this year.
QB-RB-RB-WR-WR-WR-TE-DE-K (4 BE)
This team is a bit questionable to me. Picks went Johnson, Brees, Green, Welker, then I grabbed Bradshaw over Steven Jackson (hoping that he’d fall to me in the 6th) but settled with Martin, then Bush. I got Witten really late in this draft but probably picked up Gostkowski and the Packers defense a little early. Rivers was a pure value pick since that round was between Donald Brown, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Phillip Rivers and I didn’t want to get beat by Rivers. I didn’t like getting Welker in the 4th round (6th last year), but was probably the best on the board since there was a big run on backs early.
Gronk If You’re Horny is probably my best team, but I’m pretty happy with all three of my teams. I managed to avoid the guys I really don’t like this year — Matt Forte, Miles Austin, and Michael Vick. Maybe I’ll regret it later, but I’m very glad that I gave up a late round pick for Mendenhall in essentially all of the leagues. I wish I went into the year with some mock drafts under my belt since the two teams where I drafted 6th overall looked eerily similar with the same blaring holes at running back where I’m stuck hoping for a healthy Bradshaw and Mendenhall and a solid rookie season from Doug Martin.
That’s about it. How do the teams look? What did I do right and where’d I mess up? Lastly, let me know if you have any questions on the draft order; for the most part, it looks fairly self-explanatory.
I believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone. I hear people say, “But I’m concerned about security.” My response to that is simple: “Security is for cadavers.”
Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted. Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just means that it might not work the way you’re doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.
There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”
Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of “undefined consequences.” My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, “Well, Robert, if it doesn’t work, they can’t eat you.”
Remember that old saying, “As you think, so shall you be.”
No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.
Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.
Remember what General George S. Patton said: “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”
I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.
If you want to uncover problems you don’t know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven’t examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.
When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.
In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you’re doing as anyone else, provided that what you’re doing is legal.
Life isn’t fair. You make your own breaks. You’ll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).
You’ll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you’ll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: “You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others.” There’s also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: “A wise man keeps his own counsel.”
Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.
Find it. After all, you’re really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”
Copyright © 2004 Bob Parsons. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.
Not too much to talk about this month, it was looking pretty good until chaos broke out in Libya (and to a much less extent, Egypt). During that week, I managed to lose about 5k over a three day period, which ended up being about roughly 7% of my holdings’ value.
I only made one sale this month:
As for purchases, they aren’t looking too good due to my questionable market timing:
|Company||Purchase Date||Shares||Cost per Share|
|ACTIVSION BLIZZARD INC (ATVI)||02/10/2011||1,000||$11.270|
|IRELAND BK (IRE)||02/09/2011||2,000||$2.120|
|LAS VEGAS SANDS CORP (LVS)||02/07/2011||250||$43.650|
|NOKIA CORP SPONSORED ADR (NOK)||02/14/2011||1,000||$8.490|
|ROSETTA STONE INC (RST)||02/18/2011||500||$13.320|
Microsoft is finally trying to get their users to stop using Internet Explorer 6. For those that don’t spend too much time developing web pages, this is a huge deal because IE 6 is a nightmare to work with (and this statement is significantly understated); many freelancers charge their clients any money to support the browser, if they are even willing to support it in the first place.
If you are interested in using Microsoft’s suggested banner, use the following code:
<!--[if lt IE 7]> <div style=' clear: both; height: 59px; padding:0 0 0 15px; position: relative;'> <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx?ocid=ie6_countdown_bannercode"><img src="http://www.theie6countdown.com/images/upgrade.jpg" border="0" height="42" width="820" alt="" /></a></div> <![endif]-->
Shortly after I made a comment about Microsoft’s support to kill the browser off, one of my friends sent me a link to a rant (I actually spent a considerable amount of time mulling over linking to the original article) that was highly critical of Microsoft’s suggestion. To summarize what was mentioned:
Aesthetics aside, which I have to agree with (seriously, the banner is hideous), the other points are fairly baseless. I’m fairly skeptical of anything that mentions HTML5 because its a huge red flag that signals people that are just trying to sound like they are talking about (but in all reality, have no idea what they are talking about); this is not an attack on the author’s rant, I’m just stating my thoughts on HTML5′s use in the business world (Web 2.0 anyone?).
First off, let’s level the playing field a bit here. The argument that IE9 is not supported on pre-Vista operating systems is downright insane. You’re bring technology that’s over 4 years old into the argument (for the record, Vista was released January 30, 2007) and to put this into comparison for any Apple fans out there, the current version of iTunes requires Leopard (OS X 10.5), which was released in October of 2007; I don’t see too many people out there complaining that they can’t upgrade iTunes on their beloved Mac (My Apple laptop from 2004 became virtually useless by the spring of 2008, another four year window…).
For all the flack that I gave HTML5 earlier in this post, it really has some good features/intentions, but people cannot forget the idea of progressive enhancement. I just finished updating some forms last week with HTML5 tags and most browsers today aren’t fully supporting HTML5′s input validation; Chrome and Opera offered support, but Firefox and IE9 did not, so if you’re going to try to single out IE, please take note of Firefox’s failures as well (For the record, I did not check Safari).
The inaccessibility issue threw me for a loop. I can’t argue the lack of an alt tag on the image, outside of the fact that its really annoying when you mouse over any image with alt text; admittedly, it is a poor practice to leave the alt tag empty. But you should really consider two points on this:
The second point is far more important here. It’s highly unlikely that someone who highly depends on a screen reader will be using IE6 anyways.
All of these points aside, just under 3% of the estimated US traffic is using IE6 and I’d be willing to bet that most of these users are inside of a corporate environment that has an Intranet site that requires IE6. We can speculate all we want about traffic outside the US, but I think that its fairly irrelevant considering I don’t hear too much about large design communities in China or India (I’ll be honest, I haven’t looked very hard either).
So we can sit here and bicker about insignificant traffic and talk about how evil Microsoft is, but there is probably far more important things we could be doing. I’d go as far to say to say that even encouraging IE6 users is a waste of time. There’s probably a reason why they are using the browser and its not that hard to figure out that your browser isn’t working very well. So if you are running an eCommerce website and less than 5% of your revenue is coming from IE6, it’s probably safe to forget that the browser even exists and spend your time making your other customers (with deeper pockets) happy.
Last year, I read about a contest for the best job in the universe. Tourism Queensland offered one, extremely lucky individual a six month salary of $150,000 (AUD) to hang out at a resort and take pictures/blog about his or her experience.
Now, this idea is genius for a couple of reasons. Tourism Queensland ended up getting a bunch of publicity by not only have an extremely cool, unique idea, but also because of how they set up the application process. They managed to receive over 34,000 applicants that they reduced down to 16 (15 by the company and 1 by popular vote). Each of the 16 finalists then created a YouTube video that explained why they were the best candidate for the job. If I recall correctly, Tourism Queensland then had a final voting process to determine the winner of the contest.
I want to spend a summer while I’m still in college or right after I graduate (You should read this as “before I’m tied down”) travelling across the continental United States with the same expectations that Tourism Queensland had for its winner.
For this to work, I figure I’ll need to take a decent chunk of time to really learn how to good photographs. I’ll also need to learn how to write a good review since it would be pretty cool to review the restaurants I eat at, the places I stay, and the places I see; that way, anyone that’s following me around knows what’s worth seeing.
Outside of the publicity I’m hoping for by doing this (It sounds really corny, but I’m planning on leaving business cards of my project at the places I’m visiting), I should be able to pull in some extra revenue by doing reviews and selling pictures.
If all goes as planned and this turns out to be successful, I think I’d want to try doing this in other parts of the world too. Blogging vacations across Europe, South America, Australia, or possibly even Africa or Asia seems like it would be really cool. It probably wouldn’t need to be three to six months, but at least the idea is there.
I have no idea where I’m going. In my first 22 years of my life, I had only been to three states: Minnesota (where I was born and raised), Wisconsin (almost Minnesota) and Arizona. In the following three years, I’ve managed to drive through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kansas, and Missouri (or as I like to say “misery”) and I spent a week in Boston, Massachusetts at a web design conference for work.
I want to know where I should go, what I should see, and what I should do. What places have you visited that you think everyone else should see? Is there something that I should do that nobody else really knows about except for “the locals?” Do you know anyone that’s cool with having me chill at their place for a couple of days while I’m passing through?
Any sort of sponsorships or additional publicity would be neat. Oh, and if someone wants to tag along, that would be awesome too.
This is just a real quick update on my realized gains for January 2011. All in all, it wasn’t a bad month as I manged a 8.89% return on the following five trades:
|Total Gains/Losses:||$3,530.700 (8.89%)|
I really missed by selling SMOD early the 2nd time that I picked the stock up (it’s gone up about 10% since I sold). I’m kind of expecting Visa to go up a bit more, but I wanted to lock in my gains on this (a decent chunk of class C shares are getting converted to class A shares on February 7th); I’ll be buying on a pullback ($70-71 range) and selling around $78-$80, but if you do decide to go in on Visa, make sure to pay attention to the legislation surrounding bank fees. Also, keep in mind that higher gas prices should have a positive effect on credit card companies.
My biggest miss this month (really, since about December 15th) was Naturally Advanced Technologies (NADVF). I started watching the stock when it was at .83 cents, and it closed on Friday at 1.53; I tried to time the market and missed at attempts to get in at $1.00 and $1.15. This company is trying to develop an alternative to cotton called Crailar and judging by what I’ve read, it seems promising. I’m buying on any dip down to $1.25 and pushing hard any lower than that; this is my speculative stock pick.
The rest of my short term watch list is the following:
I’m buying on any major dips in share price barring really bad news, like I mentioned above in my Visa example. I will likely be buying Las Vegas Sands stock tomorrow, as it had an 8.5% drop on Friday due to poor earnings. Granite City Food & Brewery appears to have a floor around $3.50, so I’d be comfortable buying at $3.50 and selling at $4.00.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional financial advisor. As of the published time/date of this article, I do not own any stock in the mentioned companies. Invest at your own risk. Investing may result in loss of equity. Etc. Etc. Etc. Basically, I’m not getting paid to mention these stocks, this article is my own, completely unprofessional, thoughts.
To recap my previous post, I had said that I thought Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe, and Chris Carter would make it. For people who I thought would just miss it, they were: Tim Brown, Jerome Bettis, Willie Roaf, and Dermontti Dawson. The announcement confirmed Sanders, Faulk, and Sharpe and also inducted Richard Dent, Ed Sabol, Les Richter, and Chris Hanburger (all of whom I didn’t mention)… Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed, and Willie Roaf were the finalists who didn’t make it.
That pretty much means that out of my 8 mentions, I completely missed on 3 of them (Cris Carter, Tim Brown, and Jerome Bettis). 3 players who I didn’t mention ended up in, along with filmmaker Ed Sabol, made it in and three of the five finalists that didn’t make it were unmentioned in my previous post. Not really a good showing on my part (3 of 7 and 3 of 5), but at least 3 of my 4 “locks” made it in…
I never thought I’d be defending Jay Cutler, but after watching the Bears game and seeing the Bears’ fans inevitably attack their quarterback again with hordes of professional athletes at their side, I figure people need to take a step back and think about everything that happened.
First of all, I think people forgot about Cutler’s performance before (and slightly after) his alleged knee injury grade 2 MCL sprain. The Bears’ starting quarterback was 6-14 for 80 yards and an interception before being forcibly sidelined by head coach Lovie Smith. This tells me that he was ineffective against the Packers in the first half and looking at the big picture, the injury could be perceived as a good thing; I mean what would we be talking about right now if Lovie Smith or Mike Martz benched Cutler at half time?
After a quick attempt with Todd Collins, the Bears turned to their emergency quarterback Caleb Haine. Haine proceeded to pull the Bears back into the game before throwing an interception to BJ Raji that sealed the win for the Packers. 13-20 for 153 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions is pretty impressive for an emergency quarterback and Haine’s performance shouldn’t be overshadowed by Cutler’s injury, but it’s not enough to justify a quarterback controversy.
The Bears 2nd half comeback made things much worse for Cutler and the Bears because it gives Bears’ fans and sports writers a false sense that the Bears could have won the game with Cutler; remember, Cutler wasn’t having a good game, so as I said before, his injury was arguably a good thing for the Bears.
Finally, don’t forget that the Bears gave up a lot (Kyle Orton, two first round picks, and a third round pick) for what the team sees as a franchise quarterback. Any thought of the team giving up on this kind of investment is insane. The Bears’ investment in Jay Cutler further justifies their conservative approach to the injury; if the Bears’ training staff would have jacked him up with drugs, like what Trent Dilfer wanted, it could have destroyed any future for their starting quarterback.
During and after the game, Twitter (the bane of many professional athlete’s career) lit up with comments. All of them speculated on the severity of Cutler injury because of Cutler’s nonchalant expressions on the sideline. Unfortunately, Maurice Jones-Drew had an untimely shot at Florida’s Urban Meyer after making a comment about his own knee injury.
Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now… When the going gets tough……..QUIT.. –@jones_drew32
Now I’m not a Gators’ fan and I don’t know how they feel about the situation down there, but that comment was extremely uncalled for. Urban Meyer originally tried to retire two years ago due to health reasons only to change his mind because of the overwhelming support for him; he gave it another shot and left after a rough season. I understand that fans might think he left because of his team’s performance, but don’t forget about his health and family commitment.
So, really, it’s worse that Jones-Drew’s admitted to taking a shot at Urban Meyer instead of Cutler in this situation.
Yesterday’s game gave everyone a lot to talk about and I’m sure people will continue to talk about it for the next couple of days, but as the story continues to unfold, remember that Cutler probably wasn’t going to win the game and that he didn’t fake the injury. The real story here is how quickly other professional athletes were to quick to attack a fellow player without knowing the entire story.