It’s a good time to be a Nintendo based virtual musician

It is a good time to be a virtual musician, especially if your platform of choice comes from Nintendo. This past weekend saw the release of versions of the popular Guitar Hero and Rock Band game franchises for the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii, respectively.

Guitar Hero On Tour brings the guitar strumming fun to the DS. I had a chance to try it out over the weekend and it is, in the words of my niece, “freaking sweet”. Like the console versions, GHOT has a custom guitar controller.

“But the DS doesn’t use separate controllers,” you say? Check this out:

That in combination with a pick-shaped stylus and the DS touch screen make for very cool game play. Check out the official game site for all the details.

The Wii version of Rock Band is, I’m sure, quite similar to the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 versions in terms of music and playability. Since I already have Rock Band for PS3 (working my way through a “Hard” solo tour), I doubt if I’ll get the Wii version, but I know my brother’s kids are already hounding him for the Wii version.

I wonder why…

… gas prices always include “9/10” cent as part of the price? What this means in real terms, of course, is that if someone says that gas is now at $3.99 per gallon, what they really mean is that gas is $4.00 per gallon.

This has actually been a question of mine since I was very young (6 or 7 years old), when I tried to apply my newly learned multiplication skills to figuring out how much a tankful (10 gallons, since 10 was easiest to multiply by ;-)) of gas would cost. It was only when my dad informed me of the extra “9/10” that I understood my error.

But even he was at a loss for why it was there.

Something new, something old – Microsoft OneNote 2007

Three years ago I wrote the following about my thoughts on and approaches to note taking and personal info management:

As much as I use, and enjoy using, information technologies, my primary personal note taking (and storing, for that matter) media is a paper notebook. My current book of choice is the Infinity Journal from Levenger. With 600 pages, I get about a year out of each book. Everything goes into this book, including random thougths throughout the day, notes from meetings, and quotes/passages from books/websites, etc. At times I even print-and-paste things from my computer into the notebook so I have it available whenever I may need it.

Of course, paper does have some limitations. Two key ones are searchability and organization. To solve the searchability problem for key things such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, web sites, etc. that tend to get jotted down in haste, I use a Moleskine pocket-size address book. Though it is called an address book, it is really just a notebook with the letters of the alphabet on tabs every few pages. No “rules” on what should go in, just a simple way to organize. (I’ve chosen to alphabetize names by first name, since that is what I usually think of when I want to call someone.)

As for the organization part, that’s not so easy. I do use a paper calendar to keep basic schedule stuff (see my response to Jack’s post Thinking While Note Taking for more on that), but that doesn’t help with organizing the notes I have. I do number the pages, as well as date them when I jot something down, so that helps a bit.

For the most part, this is still my process. I do use some digital tools, such as MindManager, The Brain, and the ever-present Microsoft Outlook, but these do not give me a single, consolidated approach. When a friend told me I should try out Microsoft OneNote 2007 – I think his exact words were, “Dude, I don’t know how I lived without it!” – I downloaded the trial to give it a try. (Interestingly OneNote was not part of the Office 2007 Professional package, it is only part of the Home and Student package.)

So far, I like it. Or at least the concept. I’ve not put too much into it yet, but I see the possibilities. Note taking, cross-linking to Outlook calendar and tasks, integration with the rest of Office (obviously). Multiple notebooks, sections within the notebooks, linking between pages in the notebooks, drawing tools. The ability to put notes anywhere on the page, pictures, etc and then move them around. Pretty much all the things I do with paper now, or wish I could do. (Makes we wish I had a TabletPC!)

I’ll give it another week or two before I decide if it is worth $100. I’d love to hear of any success (or horror) stories about how OneNote has (or hasn’t) worked for you.

Why we work better under pressure, and why we should encourage it (in moderation, of course)

Part of the reason for my time away from this blog has been my role in planning a trampoline and tumbling meet here in St. Louis. With just a couple of weeks to go until competition begins, things are really starting to cook. And, like with many projects, there is quite a bit of what could be (politely) called last-minute running around.

We all know the experience of doing (what we think is) our best work as a deadline approaches . Or the frustration of managing a team that works this way. And maybe it is something that we should – if not encourage – at least indulge, in moderation. For what is pressure if not competition. Granted, it is competition against the clock, but competition nonetheless.

And we all know that competition, in proper doses, is a very good thing.

Blog maintenance

Just to let you know, I’m going to be going through some blog maintenance over the next day or two, including an update of the WordPress software and databases and a possible template change (haven’t decided about that one, yet). I’m also planning to import posts from the original …no straight lines… from Blogger, partly to have a consolidated collection of my writing but mainly to follow my own advice (inspired by Harold Jarche) to “own my data.”

I’m giving this warning because 1) I’m not sure what will happen when I import the posts, whether subscribers will get a blast of new posts or if there will be no effect, and 2) in case I screw something up you’ll know that it is my fault – not my host, DreamHost – and is (hopefully) temporary until I can figure it all out.

I’ve been keeping busy other places (here, here, and here), but do have a backlog of things to write about that I’ll be posting soon.