Friday, April 9, 2010

Living in the Future

This past week we got our iPad at work. It arrived just as we were debating the kinds of seemingly critical decisions that start ups seem to face every other day or so.

After an impassioned plea to respect the obligations of our mission even in the face of market resistance, I broke into "We few, we happy few..."

Some around the table smiled in recognition, some looked at the crazy guy. I pressed forward with "...we band of brothers, for he that sheds his blood with me today shall be my brother" and asked what decision Henry would make if he were with us at the table. The smiles grew bigger, and the concern about the crazy guy became acute.

After a brief discussion on leadership and the meaning of St. Crispin's Day, we took a break.

Over the next 60 seconds, I fired up iBook on the iPad, did a search on Shakespeare, downloaded the complete works (for free), did a search on "We few we happy few", and highlighted one of the most famous passages in English literature in remarkably attractive highlighter effects (bravo Apple), bookmarked the passage, fired up YouTube app, did a search on "we few, we happy few", and brought up the 5 minute speech from Kenneth Branagh's remarkable Henry Vth

When folks returned from break, we handed around the 1 1/2 pound device, everyone used hand gestures to watch the clip and read the passage, and we were all reminded of one of the greatest lessons in leadership the world has known. We decided to do the hard thing and not the safe thing.

All in less than 60 seconds, all on a whim, all without fanfare or surprise, all with transparent technology.

In that moment, the 40 year dream of the Dynabook was made real. We don't yet have jet packs, but we have something so much more profound.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Care Reform

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge -- I face this challenge with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations, but I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people.

Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that, generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless... this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal... this was the moment when we ended a war, and secured our nation, and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

This was the moment, this was the time when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.

-- Barack Obama, clinching the Democratic Nomination in St Paul Minnesota

Almost two years ago, I stood literally behind then Senator Obama as he spoke these words. I believed them then, and I believe them now.

I am so grateful that my children and children across our remarkable country will grow up never confronting the horrible choice of economic destitution or getting healthcare for themselves or their loved ones.

Thank you Mr. President.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Time shifting photos the easy way

This summer, we snapped about 500 photos during our move from Minnesota to San Diego. Unfortunately, the time setting in the camera we were using was 16 hours slow for some reason, meaning that the time data stamped into the EXIF tags of the photos were also off by 16 hours.

Faced with the daunting task of manually adjusting that many photos, I paid a visit to the google and found these awesome EXIF tools from Phil Harvey.

I was about to dust off the old perl skills to write a script to recurse through the image directory and adjust all the timestamps by 16 hours, when I saw that my new good buddy Phil had done it already(!)

Pop open a shell and enter:

exiftool "-DateTimeOriginal+=0:0:0 16:0:0" dirname

where dirname is the directory that contains all the photos with timestamps to be adjusted.

Tool had no issues recognizing Nikon raw files and doing the right thing. No fuss, no muss, no more excuse to not fix timestamps when you forget to adjust your camera's time after day light savings time (yes, we're still using a digital camera from 2000(!) that doesn't automatically adjust for these things)

If you do anything with large numbers of digital photos, ExifTool is a must have for your digital toolkit