Month: September 2010


Parking… My Rant

What is it with people and parking?  Is it that hard for you to put your car between the two lines?  Are you really saving that much time by parking, with your hazards blinking, in the Fire Zone?

And handicap placards… don’t get me started.  I guess you can get these at the local 7-11 because it seems like every pudgy person in the tri-state area has one.  You are going to be walking inside the mega-mart, do you really need special parking?  I once saw a person with a handicap parking placard RUN into the store!

Then you have the selfish bastards…  These people, with their “my car is soooo special I need to segregate it from yours” mentality love to make up spots to rest their chariot.  Please don’t be concerned about the flow of traffic around you, the safety of your fellow man, or the fire hydrant you are oh so conveniently blocking.

Before I get accused of being a hypocrite because of MY personal parking habits, allow be to explain my logic.  You see, I don’t want to park next you your 4×4 with the giant swinging doors.  I don’t want to park next to your mini-van you used to transport your 16 screaming hyper children.  I don’t want to park next your beat-up grocery getter.

Where I DO want to park is away from all of that.  I want to park in the back of the lot, in my own single space.  I want to be away from your drama and come out to find my car all by itself right where I left it.  No new mysterious door dent, no shopping cart resting against the bumper, and no $80,000 import parked 6-inches from my door.

Is that to much to ask?

New to the IndyScan Library; Tribal Leadership

I started reading “Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization”, by Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright, a few weeks ago after learning one of my clients, fresh out of a merger/acquisition, was sending copies to all of its senior level staff.

The reviews on Amazon.com are glowing and so far I like the general premise of the book.  Tribal Leadership provides insight from a group of successful leaders and tells readers how to use the “tribes” that already exist within an operation to maximize productivity.

Overall I like the concept and can see how it could be implemented in certain industries.  I think in the case of the client mentioned above it can only help the situation they are facing with separate diverse groups from around the country suddenly being forced to play in the same sandbox.

Lenovo Q150 IdeaCentre Nettop Computer

On a recent business trip I saw one of these in action & knew I had to have one.  It actually solved a problem I was working on for a few months.

Prior to purchasing the Q150 I had been looking for a way to utilize DLNA technology to stream media (of any type) to the TV/Stereo in the living room.  After spending a lot of time doing the research I found that just about every reasonably priced solution had the same flaw…  Spotty compatibility.  Some players supported formats A-S & others supported H-Z.  Nothing I could find supported A-Z.

Enter the Lenovo Q150 IdeaCentre Nettop Computer.  Since it’s a fully functioning Windows 7 PC you can use it to do anything you would normally use a PC for.  It’s tiny size allows you to fit it into your entertainment stack (or hang on the back of the TV with the included mounting kit).

Highlights:

  • Windows 7 (Home Ultimate)
  • HDMI Out
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom D510 Dual Core CPU
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB HDD
  • 802.11n WiFi
  • NVIDIA ION 512MB GPU
  • OPTIONAL Wireless Keyboard
  • Less than $400!

Notice that the wireless keyboard is OPTIONAL.  This caught me by surprise after I placed my order from Lenovo but I ordered from Amazon ($45) & had it in a few days.  The wireless keyboard is nice but after using it for a few days I would look for an alternative (with backlit keys).

As a Windows 7 Ultimate user I was excited to get the Q150 up and running.  Since my U-Verse head end is in the same cabinet I hard wired the Q15o into the network & fired it up.  Nothing unusual here as it’s just a PC.  Initial setup went without a problem.

The Q150 is pretty snappy when it comes to performance.  Typical boot time is less than a minute & there are very few delays unless you are trying to do too many things at once.  After removing all of the “BloatWare”  (which there was actually very little of) I was left with a lean, mean, media machine.

Something I did not think of is how things would look on a 42″ display running at 1920×1080 resolution.  Text is very small at this resolution and at a viewing distance of 12 feet unusable…  A couple of accessibility tweaks in Windows 7 & we were all set.

I had a few items I wanted to install on the Q150 (Firefox, Shark007 codecs, Microsoft security Essentials) & ran into another issue.  Remote Desktop (RDP) is not supported in Windows 7 home!  I tried a few other tools & was able to connect but the high resolution does not scale very well (or at all) on a 14″ laptop.  I ended up finding a patch online that enables RDP & I was all set.

The primary purpose for this machine is media.  I launched Windows Media Center & after a quick configuration I was ready to go.  By installing the Shark007 Codec pack I can now play just about every known format of media out of Media Center.  I can even use the X Box 360 as an “Extender” and enjoy the benefits of Media Center on another TV in the basement!

Videos look great & the NetFlix plug-in means I can move the Roku to another TV in the house & watch movies there as well.  I’m not terribly thrilled with how Media Center handles my music collection so I think I’ll be running iTunes on the Q150 for the foreseeable future.

Although this was a preliminary review I hope you get an idea of how neat this little PC is.  If you are wanting to bring the Internet to your big screen TV & want the flexibility that a PC can deliver I would recommend checking out the Lenovo Q150 IdeaCentre Nettop Computer.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.