Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blogging on the iPad

I saw on TV several months ago where Oprah was giving away iPads, and she loved hers so, and she blogged on hers, and it was the best gadget ever. Uh, yeah right. Either she didn't format her own blogs (well of course not, she has a staff of grunts to do the dirty work) or she was using unreleased software. I searched. Tried the "best" ones. All crap relative to decent PC (win or mac) blogging software. I'm hoping that has changed. If this post looks pretty slick with a rose from my Flickr account integrated, credit Blogsy for leading the blog software pack. Credit Oprah for being an awesome individual who may be able to see into the future a bit more than the average Jo. :)

The iPad Update

Short version: I am now OK with replacing my notebook with an iPad. Not perfect, but I can make it work while traveling.

Long version: I've been keeping an ultra-portable PC (Sony TZ series, fwiw) in my bag for years. You pay extra for a PC that weighs less than 3 pounds.

I'm on the road again today and brought both a larger notebook (Dell Latitude) and the new iPad2 with Logitech keyboard/case by Zagg. Last night it took about an hour for the Win7 notebook to get its service pack applied...a machine that was supposed to have been "up to date." So much for grab and go. I'm using that Win7 notebook to connect to the console (9pin serial port) of a router. I suspect there is or will be cable for the iPad to do that too. The iPad will need updates, but thus far they've been pretty small/fast.

So while I wait on technicians to do their part of this road trip extravaganza, I've been using a Verizon MyFi to get online. The iPad has a built-in VPN client which works great. The Win7 notebook has a larger screen, better remote desktop, and other features which make it much preferred for remote Windows work, BUT...when I've tried to connect our Cisco Anywhere client it fails miserably. No VPN=no remote access. I expect a configuration error, but haven't gotten it working. So instead I'm learning my way around the iPad. I don't think I could do it without a keyboard. I was unwilling to haul around the original Apple bluetooth keyboard. The Zagg/Logitech keyboard and case is for sure the accessory to have.

As for completely replacing my ole trusty Sony ultra-portable...consider it done. This iPad2 has 2 cameras for conferencing and, more importantly, it has the built-in ability to ship its display out a VGA adapter. That will allow me to do the occasional presentation directly from iPad. I wouldn't call this iPad experience to be flawless. In fact it is far from it. The important factors in the iPad's favor are 1) cost 2) weight 3) battery life (which was great on the Sony too) 4) fewer OS updates. Something tells me there are plenty of folks who will want one just to have an iPod that will read Facebook. It might be nice to distinguish posers from users, but it isn't worth it. We had typewriters once too, but those have been replaced by computers that have the capability of allowing people to watch porn. I'm not willing to throw out the baby with the bath water. This iPad is pretty darned convenient.

Don't think for an instant this changes my view of Apple. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pruning Peaches & Muscadines 2011

It's late winter, so hopefully most of the hardest freezes are behind us here in central Alabama. That makes it time to prune fruit trees. I was unable to attend the local pruning workshops, so I settled for a series of videos to freshen my memory. The following one by the UMass Fruit Advisor provides an overview of the process.

Since every tree is a different, I dug around youtube a bit more and came up with the following series of videos by Gurney’s Seed on how to train young trees.
2nd year pruning =>
3rd year pruning =>
4th year =>

Important peach pruning notes:

  1. Remove diseased or dead limbs.
  2. Peaches bear fruit on last year's wood.
  3. Keep fruit low enough to pick
  4. Thin branches for good air circulation, to minimize disease, and to provide sunlight to leaves
  5. Provide sturdy "scaffolding" to carry the weight of fruit
  6. Limit number of fruiting branches so remainder of fruit will be large and healthy.

prunersI got out my trusty Corona bypass pruners and mixed a container of bleach to wash off diseases instead of spreading them everywhere I make a cut.


I cut this tree back to 4 scaffold branches a couple of years ago, so this year I just needed to clean up the new growth.




Before 2011 Pruning








After 2011 Pruning




In a few months we’ll see how well it worked.

I also have several muscadine grape vines which needed pruning. They were planted and trained to a geneva double curtain trellis as described in

If you especially like videos, here’s one from goGardenNow in south Georgia about pruning his vineyard.


Now if I can find a professional in this area to critique my work I’ll know better what to do next year. Luckily, pruning is a fairly forgiving venture. Go enjoy your garden!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Learning To Work

Quite possibly for the first time ever, I am glad to have been assigned a particular book as a "textbook." I had to first get over the rather nebulous term "evaluative inquiry" and move on. You should too. "Evaluative Inquiry for Learning in Organizations" is all about the changes happening in our workplaces and economy and how we can be more effective working as teams. Whether we like it or not, we are moving into an era where knowledge is the key to prosperity. Ironically, sharing and continued learning, rather than hoarding information, is critical to success. As PF Drucker stated, knowledge "constantly makes itself obsolete, with the result that today's advanced knowledge is tomorrow's ignorance."

"Evaluative inquiry" is a method of evaluation which accepts and thrives upon regular review of our goals and progress as we move forward. A team working together with excitement and commitment to a common goal is capable of far more than would seem possible.

Preskill & Torres point out that a team's ability to work together will not happen instantly. No doubt we would agree everyone comes around at their own pace. Most of us have been taught (or inadvertently trained) NOT to share. The book outlines ways to create effective teams. Effective teams result in effective organizations, making this worthwhile for any individual or leader.

Some key quotes:

Adults learn most effectively when there is
* A perceived need for new knowledge or skills
* An opportunity to apply what has been learned
* An emphasis on integrating new learning with what is already known
* An appreciation for past experiences

Creating the environment for individuals to learn means that organization members must
* Have accurate and complete information
* Be free from coercion and distorting self-perception
* Be open to alternative perspectives
* Be able to reflect critically on presuppositions and their consequences
* Have equal opportunity to participate
* Be able to accept an informed, objective, and rational consensus as a legitimate test of validity.

The authors point out that "discussion" comes from similar root as percussion (breaking apart) whereas "dialog" can be thought of as "a stream of meaning flowing through and among us where the goal is a spirit of understanding, not competition of ideas."

I'm not sure I'll use the formal evaluation process, but it is encouraging to have it so plainly described. The abundance of practical examples and outlines should make a useful reference, but I am most impressed by the early chapters and the potential to use evaluative inquiry with informal team "projects."

- posted (messed up?) from Blogpress on iPad