The Quartermaster’s Store – Cub Scout version

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Cub Scouts singingAs anybody that has taken Wood Badge knows, singing goes with Scouting like syrup goes with pancakes. The two are great individually, but together they make something wonderful.

As a boy, one of my favorite fun songs was The Quartermaster’s Store. I can still remember singing about snakes as big as rakes and the mice in the rice. I wanted to share this with my sons and the other boys in the Cub Scout pack, but I wanted a version that used the Cub Scout ranks. I couldn’t find one, so I made one!

For your enjoyment, my Cub Scout version of The Quartermaster’s Store!

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Powering your server racks

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power_cordCongratulations! You have the opportunity to set up some new server racks and you want to do it “right.” This doesn’t happen very often for most techs; they usually have to live with someone else’s choices that came before. But when you have the opportunity to start from scratch, it can feel like the problems of the former racks will soon be a distant memory.

Once you have decided on the manufacturer and model of the rack you want to buy, you need to start thinking about the accessories that will be installed in the rack. One of the first accessories you need to consider is power distribution units (PDUs). There can be an overwhelming selection of volts, amps, and how many rack units (RUs) a particular PDU uses. Continue reading

It Felt Like Killing Off One of My Children

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resume-tipsBeing in IT, it’s always important to keep your resume up to date. So I spent a little time recently updating mine. It had been a little over a year, so I had to add my current job to my resume. When I did that, it pushed the resume out to three pages, which I try to avoid. As I reviewed the resume I realized that the oldest job listed was over 15 years ago.

The general rule-of-thumb is that you only list jobs from the last 10-15 years. Anything older than this is not applicable, especially in IT. After all, that oldest job had me dealing with Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, 56 kbps data lines, a “high speed” T1 for internet access, and other “fun” technologies that I am glad are now obsolete. This job was from 1997-2000 and was pushing me to a third page, so it was time for it to be removed from the resume. Continue reading

Defining Success

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success-keySuccess is one of those words that can be defined in many different ways. I am often asked when starting a project, “How will you measure success for this project?” The person asking the question is usually looking for some sort of quantifiable number to measure against.

Americans tend to think of success as a measure of wealth and possessions. Don’t get me wrong, money and things are nice and I enjoy them. But “He who dies with the most toys, wins!” is a motto I can’t fully support.

Then there is the measure of influence and power that can be used. If you can command people to do something, or you can persuade people to vote for you, or you can win them over, you might be considered successful.

These measurements are all good ways to judge certain things. But I think they miss the mark of true success. It is often much more subtle and much more difficult to quantify. Continue reading

Be Aspirin, Not a Vitamin

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aspirinThe other morning was a typically busy Saturday morning in my house. We were all scrambling to get out the door to get the kids to soccer, and I grabbed something quick from the pantry to eat on the way.

Throughout the hectic morning, I forgot to take my multivitamin. I usually take it every morning. We’re sold on the benefits of taking vitamins: that they help us live healthier lives, they contain antioxidants that fight off diseases, and they help strengthen our immune system to keep us from getting sick. Some of the vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin tablet are essential to life itself.

But I survived the day and didn’t notice any difference from any other day when I took my vitamin. Is this because I had built up a reserve of vitamins and minerals in my body from taking it every day? Is it because I am already getting enough vitamins and minerals through foods in my diet? Maybe. Continue reading

Converting Books-On-CD to a Single MP3

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logo-audiobook1I have a long commute and I used to listen to the radio while driving. After an hour of the same jabbering on the talk radio station, or the same morning zoo DJ on the music station, along with the same commercials playing every 5 minutes, I was frazzled. I got to work frustrated, and in the evening I got home frustrated. It got so bad that nobody wanted to talk to me for an hour or so after I got to work or got home.

So I started listening to audiobooks as a way to pass the time, with the added benefit of “reading” books that I would have never had the time for otherwise. I have listened to business books, the latest best sellers, nonfiction books, and the classics. Quite a bit is available from Arthur C. Clark to Zig Ziglar.

Many public libraries have audiobooks available for download, but most will have books-on-CD available for checkout. Many people like to listen to audiobooks while driving or working out, but a CD player is no longer the most convenient way to listen to an audiobook. More and more, your iPod or smartphone is the way you want to listen. Continue reading

Who Are You?

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Who-are-youI’m getting started on an e-commerce project at work that should help increase the company’s ability to do business. When thinking about e-commerce we often think of a B2C (business to consumer) site, and not a whole lot more. But when it comes to a B2B (business to business) site, you quickly learn that there is a whole new dynamic involved in the development of the site. Part of that new dynamic involves working with people that may have never considered e-commerce in the past.

As this project begins, we chose the backend system that best satisfies our business requirements. The vendor is beginning to build our business rules into their system, making it unique for us. Now it is up to us to build the design of the site, the “lipstick and mascara”, to make it our site with a unique look and feel.

As part of the design process, I was talking with a coworker about working with the designer for the site. The designer sent us a list of questions that they would like answered so he can get a feel for our company, our brand, and our brand story. For example: Continue reading

Career Advice from Mike Rowe

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Mike Rowe is best known as the host of the TV show Dirty Jobs. What many people do not know is that Mike Rowe is also an Eagle Scout. He has addressed Boy Scouts on several occassions, sharing his insights to life and how scouting has influenced his life.

One of those occasions was at the recently concluded 2013 Boy Scout National Jamboree. While this speech is geared toward the Scouts in attendance, it is equally applicable to everybody searching for their next career move. Rowe shares why the dumbest advice he ever received was from his high school guidance counselor who told him to “Work Smart NOT Hard.” Continue reading

Millennials in the Workplace

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older man and younger woman yelling at each otherBaby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials.

In the workplace, there are challenges that come from multiple generations working together. The different generations don’t understand each other and this often leads to problems. Chances are, you work with someone from a different generation and you may have experienced some challenges from not fully understanding the other person’s world view.

Thankfully, this funny training video helps Baby Boomers and Gen X better understand Millennials. Continue reading

1% Inspiration

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Once in a while, we need someone else’s vision in order to understand what we see directly in front of us. There are times that I have felt stuck and didn’t know which way to move, then someone provided a small bit of advice or word of wisdom, and it exposes the chink in the armor of what was keeping me stuck; it’s the 1% inspiration that makes the 99% perspiration possible.

I recently came across a couple small books of inspirational quotes in my collection. These are the quotes that I like best from the books; my 1%. Continue reading