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  • Looking for a Twitter app…

    Posted on March 13th, 2009 Lee Devlin 4 comments

    In order to improve my productivity, I am looking for a Twitter application with the following automation features:

    1. Tweet a quote from some famous person every 5 minutes. I have a book of over 2800 quotes and it would be ideal if it could be scanned into a database and direct the contents into my Twitter stream. It will take about 23 days to cycle through all the quotes at that rate. After it’s over, I want it to loop continuously for the benefit of my new followers and in case someone missed one of the quotes.

    2. Check the local weather and send a message to all my peeps about what it looks like outside my window, at least 5 or 6 times a day. It should also tell people when it’s getting dark in my neighborhood.

    3. Connect to a pillow sensor so that when I’m hitting the hay, everyone will know, as I’m sure they are curious. It should issue a random yet clever statement with the word ‘pillow’ somewhere in it.

    4. Each morning when I arise, it must proclaim that momentous event and simply send the phrase, “Mornin’ Peeps!!!”

    5. Whenever Guy Kawasaki tweets anything, which happens about 300-400 times a day, the app should be the first to Re-Tweet it, ideally within 30 milliseconds so I can get my mug to appear in the Tweet stream before his next posting, if possible. For an extra bonus, remove any gratuitous references to alltop.com.

    6. It should monitor for any DMs sent to me and forward them to my spam bucket, because, frankly, I just don’t have the time to check my Twitter DMs.

    7. It should search through Google’s newsfeed and tweet the top headlines as they change every 3 minutes. It should insert ambiguous and random catch phrases that go something like “This is cool!”, or “Can you believe this?!” in front of the tinyurl link.

    8. Harvest the entire Twitter member database and follow everyone.

    9. Auto-follow anyone who somehow manages to follow me before I can follow them. It must then send them a Tweet, an email, and a phone text telling them how much I appreciate their follow and how I intend to hang on their every word.

    10. If anyone should ever stop following me, notify me about it immediately, so I can launch a marketing campaign to get them back, ASAP, unless it’s someone who doesn’t Tweet every hour, because I really could care less about those kinds of people.

    11. Send out some blip.fm song link every 10 minutes that will make my followers think I have very sophisticated musical taste.

    Have I left any out? Feel free to add your own ‘must have’ Twitter automation features in the comments…


    UPDATE 2009-03-21: Just in case the satire didn’t shine through, I think that automation in social networking is a slippery slope that eventually ruins the experience. People who engage in the techniques above make me want to ‘unfollow’ them on Twitter.

  • The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

    Posted on May 21st, 2008 Lee Devlin No comments

    I’ve read Dan Pink’s previous books, Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind and enjoyed them thoroughly and wrote reviews of them. Just recently I read Dan’s latest book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. This book contains several important career lessons that it helps to be reminded of periodically. I liked its creative approach of using Japanese Manga comic style for a business book. It makes the lessons much more memorable and fun to read. The book has 6 lessons, namely:

    1. Your plans and jobs will change, so don’t try to plan out your entire career in advance. Each position will help you learn what you’re good at which can help to direct your career. Positions will sometimes change or move away, so you shouldn’t get too attached to a pre-conceived notion of what your long term career plan must look like to be successful. Despite what your parents may have told you, there are no safe “fallback careers” anymore. Also, if a job is safe but you can’t stand it, then it is no way to spend your career.

    2. Find positions that focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. If you work in an area that requires you to do things that don’t resonate with your strengths, it will be nearly impossible to be successful. There are some good resources recommended about finding your strengths, such as the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. Knowing your strengths will allow you to better choose positions where you spend more of your time doing things that you do well and enjoy.

    3. Your career is not about you, but rather about what you do to help customers, clients, and co-workers to be successful. Using your strengths and enjoying your job is important, but they must be applied to helping others, not just yourself.

    4. Persistence is more valuable than raw talent. Your career isn’t a sprint, but more like a marathon. You need to continue to show up, practice, and never give up.

    5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The only people who don’t make mistakes are those who never try anything. When you do make mistakes, make sure you learn from them. If you make a really big mistake, you’ll know because it may be named after you (This has something to do with the choice of the main character’s name).

    6. Leave an imprint. When you look back at your career, you’ll want to be able to know that you made a difference that mattered.

    There are a lot of business/career books out there that have useful information, but you’d be hard pressed to find one that has as much great advice concentrated in as few words as this book. I was able to read the entire book during a lunch break. One of the common objections I hear from my colleagues who tell me that they don’t read business books is that they don’t have the time, but that excuse won’t work for this one.

    This may be the “last career guide that I’ll ever need,” but I’ll certainly look forward to any future writing Dan Pink does on the subject.

  • Mixing technology with politcal punditry

    Posted on August 3rd, 2007 Lee Devlin No comments

    I unsubscribed from Robert Scoble’s blog today because I decided I don’t much care for his politics. Scoble is an ‘A list’ tech blogger, or at least that’s what he should be doing, as a mouthpiece for Podtech. It’s not very smart to go airing one’s politics in front of an audience that subscribes to your blog looking for information on technology, yet Robert Scoble did it in spades with this posting. It’s not the first time he’s delved into politics either.

    I think that part of the problem with tech bloggers is that a few of them think they are experts on everything, including on how to run this country, and want to pontificate about it. Political punditry is for political bloggers and I avoid them because the ones I disagree with annoy me and the ones I agree with are preaching to the choir. It’s most unwelcome to find political commentary in a blog that should be politically neutral.

    The country is nearly evenly divided by political beliefs, which is why the last few elections have been so close. Tech bloggers should respect the opinions of those who disagree with them because it’s likely to be half of their audience. That means when it comes to politics they should avoid those topics or risk alienating about half of their readers.

  • My First Christmas Letter

    Posted on December 24th, 2006 Lee Devlin No comments

    I really enjoy getting those Christmas letters where people tell us all about their lives, what they did, where they traveled, what their kids did, etc., but we’ve never written one ourselves. It’s probably because we don’t have any kids. People will stand just about any amount of bragging you do on your kids’ behalf because it’s only human to do that, but when you don’t have kids, it’s a challenge not to come across as a pretentious twit, or, worse yet, as an insufferable bore. Getting something akin to a form letter from a friend or relative can be a little ‘off-putting’ because it loses that personalized touch. Of course, it can always be signed by hand, offering at least a modicum of personal attention to the recipient. Regardless, I can’t wait to dive in and read them whenever they arrive.

    So I’ll offer something like an end-of-year posting for those who might care enough to read my blog, a no doubt small and, with the lack of recent updates, dwindling audience. I’m afraid it won’t have the personalized flair of my signature.

    We started the 2006 year with a trip to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. It had been about 8 years since Terri and I had been there when we did a few stints at the since-discontinued Comdex computer show. CES is a lot more fun than Comdex because it’s easier to personally identify with the products being showcased. Terri came down for a few days and we got to see Jay Leno perform at the Mirage and had a few nice dinners at the local restaurants. The rest of the time was spent performing obligatory booth duty at the Blu-ray and HD-DVD displays. A highlight of the show was running into a high school friend, Bob Wanat, who I hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years. I was almost interviewed by Andy McCaskey of SDR News, but declined because I didn’t want to contribute in any way to the controversy surrounding a format war about to commence between two competing HD formats. I wish I was going this coming year, because I’d be able to wax lyrical about my new product, the HP Media Vault, and would welcome the opportunity to get it on SDR News.

    In June we took a trip to Europe for two and a half weeks. I wrote about it quite a bit in this blog although I never did finish the complete write-up. I’ll have to make it a New Year’s resolution to get all the writing finished. In short it was a wonderful trip with visits to Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, and Amsterdam.

    In July I traveled to Suzhou, China for the production start up of HP’s Media Vault, which is a a new product category for HP (Networked Storage for the home), and spent a week making sure everything was going OK and the product was ready to ship. I started a new FAQ and user group for the product. Shortly after arriving back in the U.S., I traveled to Oshkosh for my 15th Airventure and had a great time. There’s a blog entry about it here and here, describing my little side adventure on the way home.

    In September, we went to Long Beach, CA to update firmware and software on the first two containers of HP Media Vaults prior to having them shipped to retailers. Terri came out for that visit too because it extended over the weekend. That part of the trip also got its own blog entry.

    In December, we spent a week up in Steamboat Springs to do a little early season skiing and just enjoy the sights in and around Steamboat, which is one of our favorite places in all of Colorado.

    This past week, we had what was by far the biggest blizzard Terri and I have ever experienced in Colorado with most places shut down for at least 2 days and a White Christmas is now guaranteed…a white New Year’s too. Judging by the mountains of snow piled up everywhere, the evidence of this storm will take weeks to melt even if we get warm weather. Five days after the storm and it still requires 4WD to get out of our neighborhood!

    Terri shoveling snow
    Merry Christmas,