Here are a number of interesting items I’ve run across in my reading and listening over the past month or so plus a couple of bonus random thoughts.

Personal blog

This blog is almost nine years old now. I have to believe that it is one of the longest running blogs in the “blogosphere.” Walt started one, but it got moved to the company’s site and lost its personality. On the company side, Jim Cahill started early at Emerson Process Experts. He has been consistent for years (I forget when you started, Jim). Many other companies in the automation space have started blogs, but no one has kept a consistent thread of good content and community building like Jim has.

11 of my 12 readers know that this is my personal blog. I used to talk about a lot more things, but only 2 of my 12 readers seemed to like the soccer part–and SEO said to drop it. But, wait, I don’t really care about SEO. And if you do Google analytics, you’ll see the results of that thinking. This site is not set up to take advertising, and most of you have suggested that I not take advertising. A few people have hinted about advertising, but like I said, I’m not set up to handle it. Besides, refer back to the Google analytics thing. Don’t think I’d make that much money 😉 .

I do have a day job, which I reference occasionally. If you want to know what Automation World thinking is, visit that site. I’ve been trying to start an “official” blog there, but it’s still on hold. Maybe in 2013.

3 out of my 12 readers have found my other blog about trying to live in the Spirit. Google it if you’re interested. I try to stay busy. As I told someone years ago, I get up early and don’t have kids. Writing is what I do.

Email, coffee and iPad apps

If email is dead, then why are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn flooding me with emails? Actually, researchers have concluded that email marketing and newsletters still work.

Have you noticed that McDonald’s coffee isn’t as good as it used to be? Comments on Facebook suggest trying Tim Hortons. I just did (that’s where I am now). Better than McD’s. Room for improvement.

The Wall Street Journal has a new app for iPad and IOS 6. It sucks. The old one gave you articles that you could scroll through and skim or read. The new one replicates the newspaper. Hello! Design things for the medium, not because you’re still stuck in the 20th Century.

I got an iPhone 5 this week. Verizon LTE. It rocks. So far, set up has been easy. Speed is fantastic. Great as a phone.

Creativity and engineering

Something you can give back to the community. This conversation on Engineer vs. Designer shows how you can be really creative and develop cool stuff.

“This week we talk with Gui Cavalcanti, robotics engineer, founder of Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, Mass and instructor for the Hexapod project as well as fellow instructor and controls engineer Dan Cody. Along with fellow instructor and Electrical Engineer James Whong and a savvy crew of students, they’ve hit their $65,000 goal on Kickstarter, and then some. What are they using it for? To complete Stompy, an open-source, 18-foot-wide, 4,000-pound, six-legged hydraulic robot you can ride!”

Some great talks on TED on education

Daphne Koller, what we’re learning from online education
Stephen Ritz, a teacher growing green in the Bronx
Jane McGonigal, The game that can give you an extra 10 years of life
Boaz Almog levitates a superconductor
Peter Norvig, the 100,000 student classroom
Bonus: a young guitarist meets his hero

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