Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sony's PlayStation 3

Sony has recently come out with their PS3 and quite honestly, I'm still trying to figure out why they're allowed to stay in that business. They ran into the classic problem of being the top dog, relaxed a little bit, and is now getting walloped by the competition. However, even if Microsoft and Nintendo weren't around, Sony has made it a point to mess up in as many areas as possible. Every time a read a report, they've done something new wrong. For the fun of it, I compiled a list of some of the things I've heard:

  • Delays in development of the new system out (I know, lots of high tech firms do this, but it doesn't make it right).
  • Promised features they couldn't deliver on.
  • Cut back production estimates multiple times.
  • Doesn't have perfect backwards compatibility with older games.
  • There are very few games to choose from, especially relative to the competition.
  • The system is extremely expensive, again especially relative to the competition.
  • Their big claim to innovation are the graphics, which game developers aren't taking advantage of yet, but even still this is more of incremental improvement rather than true innovation (read "Leading the Revolution" by Gary Hamel to get more on this).

Historically, when companies have issues like these, they fall hard and fast. Just look at the ups and downs of Boeing and Airbus and you'll see what I mean. It amazes me that consumers would line up and fight to get this system. Is it really that cool? Everything I've read would suggest no. On the bright side, I believe the free market system is going to work and Sony has a very high chance of falling to third place in the gaming industry. I believe this because of simple math. Sony has sold 400,000 units, Nintendo has sold 2,000,000 units and Microsoft has sold 7,000,000 units. Furthermore, with the shortages of PS3's and Wii's, X-box sales have picked up again. By the end of the year, Nintendo plans on having another 1,000,000 units out. Sony on the other hand, wants to have another 600,000 units out by the end of the year - though analysts say because of the production process it might be closer to another 400,000 units. Oh yeah, don't forget that Sony and Microsoft lose money on each system and Nintendo makes money on each system.

From what it looks like, Sony can't produce enough units to catch up even if every single one of them sells. Knowing gamers, they're going to jump systems rather than wait for Sony to get their act together- which is already evidenced by the increase in X-box sales. It really is not looking good for Sony on plain raw numbers, which they deserve for all the mistakes they've made. Though I must admit, it would have been nice to see them put up a bigger fight against Microsoft. There's nothing like seeing two titans go after each other. Oh well. Perhaps in 6 years we'll see a better effort by Sony when the new wave of systems come out.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I'm excited because it means I get to go home for the weekend. I'm going to get to hang out with my family and just have a good time. If I get lucky, I'll make it over to my cousin's house and try his Nintendo Wii. Then, don't forget the loads of food I'll get to consume as well. Now all I have to do it get there.

I'm driving, which doesn't seem so bad, except it's an 11 hour drive. It really takes time to prepare yourself for such a trek. I must eat well, sleep well and mentally prepare myself for sitting and focusing for so long. I remember my first time was really difficult because I simply wasn't ready for it, but after that I've been fine with the long trip. Here are somethings I do to have a successful trip:

  • I eat well the night before, really well the morning before and light the rest of the trip. This way I've got the energy I need.
  • I get 8 hours of sleep TWO nights before and 8 hours the night before. This way I'm well rested.
  • I listen to talk radio most of the way. I find it gives me something to focus on.
  • I open the windows periodically to let fresh air into the car.
  • I leave early, because I'm a morning person, and I skip a lot of the traffic.

With that, I'm off to start preparing myself for the long haul. See you soon family.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Apple Teams up with Airlines

Apple just announced they will be working with select airlines to allow their iPod to be perfectly compatible with the players on the back of seats in airplanes. This way you can take your travel companion with you a watch it on a slightly larger screen. This idea is brilliant, but I think so because of thought of it a couple years ago. I'll admit, my idea was slightly different, but the concept remains.

My first experience with the airplane's small screen was during a trip to Italy. It was a blast watching all the different movies and it really helped time pass. I started thinking about all the different kinds of content airplanes could buy. My first idea was the "ESPN Classics" series. Passengers could watch their favorite games and competitions while traveling. Just imagine watching all the Ali fights on the way to a business negotiation. I liked the idea because each episode stands alone, doesn't take two plus hours and are entertaining. I could easily see this extending to other favorite TV series (Simpsons, CSI, Law and Order, etc). It really was grand hopes for the airline industry. Right now most of them were mainly competing on price and there aren't many winners in that game. This would allow an airline to start competing on entertainment - something business might be willing to pay more if it increases employee satisfaction.

I'll admit, this is a much better idea because now passengers can watch exactly what they want and the airlines don't have to invest millions into new content. Very smart. Good job Apple. Of course, Apple made it a point to partner with so many different companies that it won't lead to a distinct competitive advantage for one company. Hopefully though, it will give them a more overt way to distinguish themselves from low-cost carriers.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bathroom Remodel Project

This weekend proved to be a busy one. I'm taking a project management course, and part of it is to manage an actual project (makes sense). I chose to help a friend remodel his bathroom floor. This type of project is what's known as a "marathon project" where we worked numerous hours to get it all done in a weekend.

The reason for the remodel stemmed from an uneven and squishy corner on the floor. As we pulled up the layers of linoleum, we realized that a fix had been done before, and so we set out to correct the work. Instead of boring you with the details, I thought I'd share some things I learned from the project.

1) Projects never go exactly as planned - even if you plan for it.
2) Putting in 12 hours of physical labor a day can get tiring REALLY fast.
3) Toilets are surprisingly easy to replace, but still read a tutorial or two first.
4) Floor patterns are EXTREMELY important (guys: pay attention to this).
5) Start with small projects to learn what you're doing - inviting experts to help doesn't hurt either.

Those are some of my lessons learned. What do you think? Want to add some of your own lessons? Go ahead.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Oregon Weather is Back

It has been a beautiful fall in Oregon this year. There has been very little rain up until the beginning of this week. We really have been lucky. Each football game we went to was nice (ie. no rain and not cold) and I haven't had to bust out my warm jackets yet. Now as the rain starts rolling in, we get to pull out our umbrellas and rain jackets. Though the nice part about it raining is that it actually warms up here because of the cloud coverage (this, by the way, is why is rarely snows where I am in Oregon).

In other news, I have a flag football game today, which will be in the rain. I'm excited to play. The best part is that we'll be playing on field turf, so I don't have to worry too much about my footing and only have to focus on catching the ball. It's pretty fun playing with a bunch of my friends because we all get to play an important roll. That's about all that's happen on this front. We're excited for Thanksgiving and are working hard to learn as much as we can in our final year!

Oh yeah, the picture has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. It's one that my brother put together based off of a picture we took some time ago. I think it's pretty neat.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November goodness


My work sample on Food Chains is going very well. We are officially half way finished, yay! I have about two more weeks before the final assessment and then I will be returning to 1st and 2nd grade...I really miss the younger kids!

The pictures are of the beautiful fall trees and some pumpkin carving fun my roommate, Cheryl, and I had for Halloween!

Also, more good news, I am looking forward to celebrating my 23rd birthday at the end of this month on the 27th. I will be good and stuffed from Thanksgiving and then I will get to eat even more cake!

Love, Jessi

Friday, October 27, 2006

Firefox 2 Review

Mozilla just came out with the next generation of their web browser: Firefox 2. I've downloaded it and been playing around with the different features. I'm not an extreme user, which means I haven't pushed it to it's limits, so this is more for the average user. For starters, I love the tab browsing. I downloaded IE 7 once it came out in beta because of the tab features (ironically, I just updated that too and it's now freaking out) and really like it. Below are some items I have noticed

Tab Browsing
You can put the tabs in any order you like. As a person who likes order, this is really nice. I can open my emails and move them all the way over to the side. I can do this even after I open some other pages. You can't do that in IE 7 (yet - I imagine). To close a tab you used to have to go all the way to the right of the browser, which was a pain. Now they're within each tab - it's clean and convenient.

One of my favorite features is Adblock. Lets back up a step first. With Firefox you can download extensions. Some of them are fun and others are useful. One really useful extension is Adblock which does exactly as its name implies. It blocks flash (or animated) ads. So when you visit Yahoo! they aren't there. What's even better is that because of the way the extension works they don't even get downloaded, thus speeding up your browsing experience. IE has a wanna bee version of this, but it isn't near as cool because you have to select the ads you want it to block.

Google's Web Accelerator
Unfortunately, Google's Web Accelerator doesn't work anymore. I enjoyed seeing how much of my life I'm saving. Of course, I did notice that it took me 3 weeks to save 1 hour and then I was saving at least an hour once a week. So, I'm not sure how accurate it was, but the placebo affects were great. I'm sure Google is working on fixing this as I'm writing.

Spelling check
Okay, this is my absolute favorite feature. There is a built in spelling checker. When I spell something wrong (like on this post), a dotted red line appears under the word. It's doesn't auto-correct it like Word so I can go back and try again (Side question: Do you ever feel that Word is so good it actually makes you dumber because you don't have to catch your spelling errors?). If I can't get it, I can right click and a list of options come up. This feature works anywhere there is a text box. I bet Microsoft wished they had thought of this one first.

No Random Cursor
Before Firefox 2, the browser had a cursor problem. You see, when I read something, I like to highlight where I read because often I get distracted and have to look away. By highlighting the lines as I read, I can easily find my spot and continue. When I used to click on the text, the cursor would show up indicating I could type something there. I tried writing something a couple of times and it didn't work. Now all it did was annoy me by blinking. To make matters worse, the cursor didn't appear in text areas where I was supposed to type! This is still the case in many text areas, but at least the cursor doesn't blink at me any more.

Cool Looks
The browser just plain looks cool. Sometimes, that's all it takes.

That's my review. I think it is worth the try. If you want, you can learn more and download Firefox 2 at this site:
Let me know how it works out.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Addition to Mt. Saint Helen's

Here are some more beautiful pictures from our hike near Mt. Saint Helen's!

Beautiful nature and good friends, what more could you want?

Lots of Love, Jessi

First one...and Fish

Hi everyone!

It seems like I disappeared for the past few weeks being so busy with school, but I am still here! School just got a little easier because instead of taking University classes and teaching I will just be teaching for the next month. I am teaching a unit I developed myself on food chains and ecosystems! It will be a lot of fun! I usually work with 1st and 2nd grade but will be with 4th and 5th graders for the unit. They are much bigger, but still very exciting to work with!

Also some other exciting news...In the midst of business I recently got some new pets! I recieved a couple of free goldfish, whom I lovingly named Dr. Seuss and Sam.

Here is a picture of them...they are so cute! Sam is on the left and Dr. Seuss is on the right.

Lot's of Love, Jessi

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Top Must See Movies of All Time (and Space)

I thought about doing a Top 10 list, but this proved to be too difficult for me. So instead, below are some of my top movies that you should watch. If there's one here you have not seen, treat it as your duty to watch it. If you've seen all of these and need more, let me know and I'll hook you up. Enjoy.

I would have to say it's the music that's great.

Beauty and the Beast
I think my attraction to this movie are the SAT words used in the songs.

The Matrix
Awesome story, awesome moves. It's a good things they came out with more because I wasn't ready for it to end.

Gone with the Wind
Thanks Mom for introducing me to the finer things in life.

Ferris Beuller's Day OffSinging in the Rain
Excellent music. You'll be humming the tunes for weeks.

Jurassic Park
Besides the fact that these graphics were revolutionary, the movie's awesome.

Star Wars: Episode 6, Return of the Jedi
It all comes down to this. Wow. Make sure to watch Episode 4 and 5 first though.

The classic guy flick. Freedom!!

Superman the Movie
Come on. A super movie has to make it on this super list.

Fiddler on the Roof
You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll forget you're watching a musical.

An Affair to Remember
The classic chick flick. Everyone should watch this (then follow up with Sleepless in Seattle).

Top Gun
I've watched this plenty of times to confirm that this is by far the best movie that you must watch.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mt. St. Helen's Trip

Earlier this year Jessi and I took a trip up to Mt. St. Helen's with a friend of ours. As you'll see it was a beautiful place. We hope you enjoy the photos.

These photos are stored using Picasa. Please let us know if this doesn't work for you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Birthday Facts

It was my birthday this week. I turned the big 2-3. Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday wishes - I really enjoyed them. My brother sent me these stats and I thought they were fun. So, now I'm sharing them with you! I hope you like it.

Congratulations for making it this far, but there is still fun to come:
now, in 2 short years you will be able to rent a car!
in 12 short years you can run for president!
in 42 years you can retire from a lame job that didn't make you enough money to retire before then!
but right now your doing pretty well as far as privileges are concerned.

Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mom and Grandma Visit

October 2006

My mom and grandma came to visit me this weekend. It was a blast! I played in a concert Friday night (I play saxophone) and they got to hear our music. The band played excellently and it really came off well. I'm glad they got to see it. Then we went to a football game on Saturday. My team didn't do so well, but it was fun getting to visit with them. My mom really gets into the game and shouts and makes all sorts of hoopla. It's great! We finished the night with a trip to the movie theater. It's a very interesting set up where you go in and order food. Then, during the movie they deliver it to you. The best part is that even though people are in there eating food you can't really hear it (that's my favorite part). We watched the movie "Invincible" and it is a good one. I highly recommend seeing it.

On Sunday we went to church, ate a nice brunch and relaxed. Did you know that turtles are really expensive? We were looking into them (as a pet) and decided they're just out of your price range. The nice part is that they live for about 75 years - talk about a lifetime friend! Well, that was my weekend, and now it's back to homework...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Leading the Revolution Review

Book by Gary Hamel

I like this book. It challenged the way I thought about business innovation. It points out that it's not about making small changes to the existing product mix, but coming up with completely new ways to serve customer wants and desires. Some of the examples are amazing ideas - and it even predicts the iPod. At the time it was written (2000), there was no service that offered mp3s and downloadable music (I don't even know if downloadable is a word, but I like it). Hamel went as far to say that whoever figures it out first will gain huge market share. Well, it seems that Apple proved him right with 80% of the market. Not bad.

More importantly, Hamel gets you excited to want to experiment and shake up your workplace. As a budding professional, this really got me going. I know I'll still have to learn the ropes, but I can't wait to start discovering places to dramatically increase value by changing the way my company views the market place (high aspirations? I hope not). If you're not content with your job, I recommend reading this book because it will help to give you a greater purpose to go in every day. It's inspiring and easy to read. I hope you enjoy it.

You can check it out for yourself at Amazon:
Leading the Revolution

Friday, October 13, 2006

Gmail Review

I've been using Gmail for a little while now, and I have to say it has my seal of approval. Google has done a great job of holding true to their original intent of starting Gmail - having so much space you never have to delete anything. As someone who receives buckets of email, it's nice to know it will always be there. Previous to Gmail, my account only allowed 100mb of space. It was getting to point where I had to completely clean out my box every other week. Not only was this a waste of my time, but I would bang my head against the wall when someone else referenced the email and I couldn't go back.

Now don't worry, I'm not completely in love with the program. There's one item I would fix. Well, not really fix, but add. As a visual person, it would be nice if Gmail had a way to highlight my messages with different colors. That way I could quickly tell who it was from or which account it went to. I realize they already have this with their label and filter system, but I'm a visual person. I suppose knowing Google, if that slows the program down one fraction of a second, and demand for it isn't huge, it'll never happen.

That's okay. I still use and like the program. I enjoy chatting with my family and friends and look forward to seeing what they put out next.