Project management at home

Yesterday the lock on my apartment door broke. I went to a hardware store and got myself one of the new Mul-T-Lock locks. Then I asked my father to team up with me and install the lock.

Not so much to my amazement, but just to prove the point, the 3.5 hour installation (including steel plate on the exterior of the door and other minor parts) went exactly the way any web project goes – with tests, beta versions and live releases. We measured the holes and distance between them, we put the lock on the door to see how it would look like (created a mash-up), we drilled the holes and installed parts of the lock without fully tightening screws (there’s your beta version) to see if key is able to rotate and the lock is, indeed functioning, then we tightened the screws and moved on to a next part of installation (there is your milestone).

The point I am trying to make here is no matter what you do – there is always a little project management going on.

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What is it that I want

While moving tons of my ex-IT stuff from old apartment to new (and losing some ISA network cards on the way) I realized what is it that I ultimately need while most of my stuff is unavailable (like when I am moving, traveling, vacationing and so on). So think of this as of unofficial wish list:

  • PDA/cell phone. Not a smartphone, it’s a poor excuse at being a decent organizer having a screen size of a matchbox and no keyboard. Something like an iPhone, but runs Windows Mobile and doesn’t look like a proletariat’s weapon of choice. With hundreds of software titles already available, seamless sync with Outlook and (again!) large screen size, so I can actually read documents/books/emails without hurting my eyes, watch stand-up shows or documentaries in the gym or on the road such device would win me over any fancy useless gadget. Oh, and add regular headphones jack (instead of smaller non-compatible one) and no-cradle sync/recharge cable for easy packing to that.
  • Small cheap laptop. I currently own IBM/Lenovo T60p, T42 and T40p. None of them qualifies neither as cheap nor as small. Something with screen size of 10 – 12 inches (1024×768), solid-state disk and price tag below $600 – $700 with decent battery life (at least 4 – 5 hours) should suffice. Every time some teenager or poor old lady entering backwards into subway car smashes into my backpack with my $3000 T60p with two hard drives in it, or my car hits the bump on the road, or airport security kicks a basket with my laptop out of scanner – I think of solid-state disks and cheap (read – replaceable without busting my budget) laptop.
  • Personal Media Player with removable storage. It’s amazing to see all those gazillion-gigabyte iPods, Zens, Zunes, iRivers and other misspelled words to try to host all owner’s music collection in a single place to make it easier to loose all in one take. I owned Creative Zen 20GB – thrown away as their web site is total mess and no drivers I downloaded would work with my player after attempt to hook it up to a new PC; had Toshiba Gigabeat 30GB – stolen, but I didn’t like it anyway – their sync software tries to act as DRM-police and extremely slow, player just won’t play directly uploaded mp3 files, sync via cradle didn’t work as expected plus none of my girlfriends in the passenger seat could figure out how to navigate “that cross thingy”. So all I want for now is a media player that will accept SD or Flash (or both) cards of any denomination and just play whatever is on them. With simple buttons like Play, Stop, Skip, Rewind not arranged in a puzzle or some other cryptic combination.

Re-read all of the above. Why do I need office, again?

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Impress me

There are (mostly) two ways of telling a story. One (the common approach) is to lay out the dull facts. Another is to lay out the facts in such a form that will keep me (or anyone else for that sense) interested. Dish depends on a sauce, as we all know. The only reason I remember that French Navy fleet won one (and the only) battle while protecting US from Great Britain is because it was told in an unforgettable way.

The problem, it seems, is that now “audience” has seen it all. What’s the sauce of the day?