Top Tech Innovations of the Decade

I wanted to celebrate the decade by noting some of the signature technology innovations of the decade. Obviously these are mostly consumer focused, so I’m not going to talk about obscure networking standards or have a religious war about operating system kernels. We’ll keep these things accessible for most of you readers. This list is really those products or innovations that defined the decade, and in some ways would blow the mind of someone we transported from 1999.

I’ve been working on this list for a while and then today Engadget comes up with a similar list with many of my choices. Oh, well… here’s my list anyway.

Canon Digital ELPH camera

For all the talk about the iPod or the Music Industry, there are few industries that were as dramatically transformed during this decade than the camera and film industry. I  mean, does anyone even use film anymore? At the start of the decade most people hadn’t even heard of digital cameras!  And while Canon didn’t invent the industry, the Digital ELPH was really the first super small camera that was really capable. If the adage “the best camera is the one you have with you” is true then these small cameras were a game-changer.


ipodI know.  It’s easy to pick this. And despite no longer being the shining star at a certain Cupertino company, it’s hard to argue there was a more signature device from the decade as a whole. Introduced in 2001 and not really perfected until the click-wheel was invented for the iPod Mini, the iPod changed the way we interact, consume, and transport our music. I still use one for hours a day. There are eight iPods (or iPhones) in frequent use in our household.

So, for fun… let me see if I can remember all my iPods this decade.

  • iPod Shuffle 1st gen
  • iPod 3rd gen
  • iPod nano 1st gen (4 GB)
  • iPod nano 1st gen (2 GB) – won this in a raffle and Quinn is still using today
  • iPod 5th gen
  • iPod nano 3rd gen – Riley is still using today
  • iPod nano 4th gen – my daily iPod for podcasts and music listening
  • iPod nano 4th gen – Julie’s iPod
  • iPod Touch 2nd gen – we have two of these in our household, used by Riley and Quinn. I got one free ordering a new computer and Riley got one from grandma for suffering through dental work


Combined with Google Maps, it’s pretty hard to get lost these days. It really is a revolution that we can track our location and that the hardware/software solutions out there can provide pinpoint directions whenever you need them.

Toyota Prius 2nd Gen

I’m more of a Honda guy, but if you were going to pick one single car to represent the decade it would be an easy choice. And, let’s face it, we could use a lot more hybrid cars out there. My next one will be a hybrid. My favorite Prius moment came in an episode of The Office when Andy was able to use the silent electrical motor to trap Dwight between the car and a fence. Perfect 00’s moment.

iTunes Music Store

I still buy a lot of CDs. I like the “permanence” of CDs, but also am looking at a giant shelf of them. If only there was a way to purchase that one great song from that obscure album. Oh, there is…  Among the things we can thank Steve Jobs for the most is this invention that I think did save the music industry. There are other electronic stores out there but there is only one iTunes.

Someday Apple may be able to leverage iTunes as well. If only there was a way to easily buy movies or purchase apps for my cell phone…

Palm Treo 600

This one didn’t have a long shelf life as it looked really old really fast once a certain computer company decided to make a cellphone. But, back in the day, the Treo was the first device that you could really use for all your daily “pocket computer” needs. An organizer with web browsing, a phone, 3rd party apps, and ability to play music and videos. That was the promise of the Treo.

If only Palm hadn’t sat on Palm OS 5 for what seemed like forever…

Over the Air Wireless Broadband (Internet WiFi / 3G)

You’ve seen those commercials that talk about the broadband revolution and how back at the turn of the decade most of us were still using dial-up internet. Yep, me too.

It is ridiculous how pervasive wireless broadband is now. My phone has internet speeds that blow past my landline internet from the start of the decade. Not my cable modem. My phone.

Kudos to Apple for really pushing the wireless internet WiFi capabilities in some of their laptops early this decade. You can hardly go anywhere with people and not find WiFi available. It’s everywhere! And for shame those cellphone manufacturers who omit WiFi from the feature list in deference to the cellphone carriers.

YouTube / Podcasting

This is arguably as disruptive as digital photography. Services like YouTube make it easy to consume and share video (especially now that we all have excellent video cameras in our phones. Or, at least we have some sort of video camera in our phone). It isn’t that hard to remember the time when there were a million video formats and that uploading and providing those files for people to watch and consume was a big pain. All of that went away with YouTube. Now, admittedly, some of the videos on YouTube aren’t exactly quality TV. But there’s a lot of great stuff there and as a producer of content it makes it easy to share.

Podcasting is similar in that it allowed for the same kind of electronic distribution systems that “big media” used to reach people online. And with the quality of audio and video software it is very easy and affordable to produce something that has high technical quality. The quality of the “talent” might be another thing…


For all the talk about “virtual reality” in the 1990’s, the Wii was really the first system that created an interface that really brought you into the game in a way that was far superior than pulling a joystick or pressing buttons.


You didn’t think I’d forget Steve Jobs’ Jesus Phone did you?

On a certain level, it’s isn’t that different from the Treo and other earlier smartphones. But, they say, the devil is in the details and detail-wise the iPhone blew them all away. It’s become such an integral part of my life that if you put a gun to my head and said I had to get rid of either my iMac (with a gorgeous 20″ display) or my iPhone it wouldn’t even be a contest.

You can take my iPhone when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Of course, the iPhone leverages many of the technologies listed above (but where is the gas-hybrid battery?). But this was the device that put them all together. Camera in my pocket, great music and movies, excellent “PDA” apps, plus a great phone experience and tons of internet-connected apps. Truly the product of the decade.


Why the Return of Captain EO is a Bad Idea for Disneyland

Disney announced that Michael Jackson will return to Disneyland in the Captain EO attraction.

Twenty-three years ago, at the height of his phenomenal entertainment career, Michael Jackson joined forces with Disney to create “Captain EO,” a groundbreaking 17-minute 3D film experience.

We are excited to confirm that the classic musical spectacular that thrilled Disneyland park guests from 1986 – 1997, will return for an exclusive, limited engagement at Disneyland park beginning in February 2010!

The attraction’s return to Tomorrowland will provide new audiences the opportunity to experience the original 3D production for the very first time, as well as a nostalgic look back for longtime fans wanting to see “The King of Pop” in a rare performance created for the big-screen, just one more time.


The return of this “attraction” is a horrible idea.

To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld (“it offends me as a comedian”) the fact that Michael Jackson was a child molester is not the primary reason why I object (but, of course, this is a very good reason to). Instead, I just think it’s a bad idea to return an attraction to the park that honestly wasn’t very good even when it was new (I’m holding judgement on the new Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction for similar reasons).

Captain EO is a 17 minute film featuring 3D effects, “acting” and singing from circa-1986 Michael Jackson. The film was directed Francis Ford Coppola and produced by George Lucas. The film features Angelica Huston as an Alien-esque villain. And some really stupid muppets.  The experience is beyond simply bad. It’s absolutely terrible.

And, lest you think that I’m objecting because I hate Jacko’s music… aux contrare. In fact, back in the day I liked a lot of MJ’s music. The “Walk Off” scene in Zoolander featuring “Beat It” is still one of my favorites of all time. Unfortunately, Captain EO does not contain any classic Jackson songs. In fact, it doesn’t even feature average songs. Instead, they’re simply awful like the rest of Captain EO.

Don’t believe me? Behold…

You know I’m a big Disneyland fan. There’s really only one upside to the return of Captain EO. Maybe it’ll suck up the crowds and lessen lines for the other attractions!

Fearless Oscar Predictions

I know the Oscars aren’t until March 7, 2010, but I thought I go out on a limb with my fearless predictions for the top categories. Yes, I know the nominations aren’t even out yet. But, here we go…

  • Best Picture: Up in the Air
  • Best Director: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
  • Best Actor: George Clooney, Up in the Air
  • Best Actress: Meryl Streep, Julie and Julie
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
  • Best Supporting Actress: Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
  • Best Animated Feature: Up
  • Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

So, clearly, I’ve got a lot of horses bet on Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds. I think that as often has happened in recent years the Best Picture and Best Director will split, so that could easily go the other way. But I think that Up in the Air feels more like “topical sign of the times” that the Academy often likes to recognize. I’m hedging my bets for these two films in the respective Screenplay categories as well.

When folks vote for Best Picture they often like to vote for a man in acting category, so the Best Picture support for Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds will translate to extra votes for Clooney and Waltz. There may be two “newcomer” candidates for Best Actress with Casey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe, so I think they’ll split that vote. If Sandra Bullock gets nominated it’ll be like Anne Hathaway’s last year – the nomination is the reward. Which probably leaves Meryl Streep as the last woman standing. There will certainly be some sentiment to reward Street for the first time in almost 30 years, though I happened to not love her performance in Julie and Julia personally. And I’m going for Farmiga for Supporting Actress because she’s playing against George Clooney (think: 2008 winner Tilda Swinton).


I Still Love Mother’s Cookies

I received a nice email from the cool folks at Mother’s Cookies:

As you know Mother’s cookies are back! And now that we here to stay we want to invite Mother’s Cookies lovers Share The Love. We know you are a fan so we wanted to let you know about this contest right away!

Share The Love
We are asking Mother’s Cookie lovers to create a short video about their love. Cookie lovers can visit and enter their video! The first 100 submissions that also tweet using #motherscookies before December 21, 2009 at Midnight will win a yummy cookie prize!

Well, twist my arm…

I’m still playing around with shooting and editing video on the iPhone. The front of this clip was cut off because I didn’t understand how the trim feature works. And the cutting and splitting in the ReelDirector app is not intuitive. Nonetheless, hope you enjoy Mother’s Cookies as much as I do!


I really enjoy my job as an Enterprise Community Manager. I get to help people use our company’s internal collaboration system while also thinking about ways to make it even better!  And overall most of the people I work with ask reasonable questions and have feasible use cases.

But there are some days that are not fun. Sometimes the question is… less than reasonable. Other times it’s something stupid that I do myself! In other case, it’s just an outside factor that has nothing to do with me or the people I’m helping/serving. Regardless… a bad day!

But no matter the reason there is always the same outcome. It doesn’t happen very often; maybe three or four times per year (and, it should be noted, hasn’t happened in months). But when that time comes there is only one thing you can do.


I like this photo that was taken with the webcam on my computer. The clenched mouth really adds a nice touch.

Franz Frosted Animal Cookies Are… Good but Not Great

In my never-ending quest to find the ultimate in frosted/iced animal cookies, I recently came across Franz Frosted Animals. Having grown up on Mother’s Circus Animals, there was something obviously familiar with the white and pink cookies. There was something familiar with the taste as well; these are pretty good cookies.

They’re not quite up to Mother’s quality in terms of cookie size or frosting thickness. But I have to admit these are not bad in a pinch.


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Boy Scouts Rip Off Disney Theme Park Logo

The headline is a little provocative I know… but sometimes there is no way to sugar-coat it, even when it is with respected organization such as the Boy Scouts of America.

I was visiting our local Scouting store and saw this good book about the upcoming 100th Anniversary of Scouting in America.

Click for larger

Good stuff, right? Well, yes… but there was something about that Cub Scout Activity Series logo. It seemed oddly familiar. Where have I seen that logo before?

Compare the logo to the original logo for Disney’s California Adventure theme park, which opened in 2001. The similarities are striking!