Our first time using the Disney Vacation Club

Our first experience in the Disney Vacation club was overall excellent. We learned a lot about the club, Disney, and how to effectively get around. I will be posting some pictures soon – we took a lot! The kids were great and everyone was pretty much exhausted by day 3 – next time it will be a much more relaxed approach. The older kids got to go off on their own for one day and it worked out great. We all met in Epcot for some famous fish and chips and I had some great beer to go with it! They used their cards to buy water and snacks and I even got an itemized bill for each child – very cool. My nine year old (Nathan) went on every single ride – I was so proud of him. He seemed to not be phased by even the scariest of rides. Here is a picture of the four oldest on the Rockin Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios:

Our suite was a two bedroom suite with a common area, full kitchen, and a laundry room (came in very handy). We pre-ordered groceries and even though we spent $160 on groceries it probably saved us a few hundred. We had breakfast and snacks in there the entire trip – big savings for seven people. I loved how we just showed up and the refrigerator and cabinets had all of our groceries packed away – great surprise. Our place was the Bay Lake Towers, right next to the Contemporary. It is pretty centrally located and getting to any park was in a matter of minutes – not too mention Magic Kingdom was right across the street! We actually walked back to the hotel one night from Magic Kingdom. The kids pretty much went on every major ride and never waited more than 10 minutes thanks to the Vacation Club Fast Pass system. I wish we got them every time we went there but apparently they are hard to come by. Our last day in Disney we simply chilled by the pool, ordered pizza pool side and drank pina colada’s!

Next year we plan on renting some jet skis and boats for the lake right behind our hotel – it looked really fun. We are also going to take it a little slower on the park side of things – running around for 12 hours in 90 degree heat with crazy humidity was a bit crazy.

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Amazing pictures and animations can be made with Blender

I have written about this software a few times and often go in and play with it. Unfortunately I do not have the time to take the software seriously because it is so darn complex and powerful – it is almost a full time job. I have created very basic pictures and animations but boy what I could do if I could spend hours with this thing. One of my favorite things to do is check out the gallery of pictures created by the Blender community on their site.

Old Guy by Kamil (maqs) Makowski

Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

How to deal with unacceptable employee behavior

This is my second post in the leadership series, you can read my first post here about mentoring and management. In that first post I attempted to provide an entertaining narrative about how to be a leader by outlining what not to do. I got an email tonight that was an advertisement for a one day seminar here in Syracuse about Unacceptable Employee Behavior. The seminar is run by Fred Prior Seminars and it looks very interesting.

Continue reading

Personal brands and their value in the company

I just got done reading an excellent article on Forbes.com – Personal Brands Raise New Talent Development Questions For HR, by Rawn Shah. I think companies should have some level of performance evaluation based on personal brands only if the company asked the employees to become company or technology community advocates. IBM is very clear in its direction to technical employees and encourages employees to be social, blog, write articles and grow the IBM community organically. As the Yellowverse has seen, there are more than a handful of IBMer’s who blog about their work or the technologies they support. As the article points out, HR departments should start considering the value of the personal brands to the company and even offer some level of award for the personal brand effort – determining the value of that effort is the difficult part.

I do think this is a slippery slope since every personal blog is just that, it’s the persons views, not their company (usually). I am sure there are some people who actually get paid to blog and I am also sure everything they write is probably closely monitored if its in the name of the company. Maybe getting a community award or something is the way to go, if you start getting kick-backs from your company to blog you may change your material and ultimately lose your readership. Keeping your blog “YOU” is probably what made it interesting in the first place – it’s not a commercial, its from a person. This is a tough call, I know for a fact many of the blogs in the Lotus community add tons of value. I am not saying mine is a great blog by no means, but I do see many of the so called “green posts” constantly referenced from Google searches – meaning someone most likely got something out of that post many months after it was posted through an online search.

What do you think? Should people get financial, non-financial, or community awards if they have a “hit” blog that is tightly or loosely based on the companies products?

The Nook is making some waves

Ever since I got the Nook Color I was convinced of the success it will bring to Barnes and Noble – my favorite store. Now, last Thursday, Liberty Media offered $1 billion for the store – or $17 per share, which would give it a 70% stake in the company. I have also noticed the Nook section in Barnes and Noble seems to get bigger and bigger, it is a clear sign this is where the company is moving, and fast. The Nook Color is arguably the best value for an Android based table at $249.

Malone’s company Liberty Media offered $17 per share Thursday — or about $1 billion — for a 70 percent stake in Barnes & Noble, a 20 percent premium over the Thursday closing price. Investors greeted the news warmly, pushing Barnes & Noble shares up over 30 percent — yes that’s higher than Malone’s bid! — in midday market action Friday. As a result, Malone will likely have to sweeten his offer to at least $20 per share. — Wired article

Interesting discussion about Lotus Notes market share on LinkedIn

Yellowverse, chime in if you can!

Lotus Notes market share | LinkedIn.

Revenge for bad reviews

It does not surprise me if this is true. I have often thought that if I gave a bad review something like that could happen (not that I have a book on Amazon though…) and that is one of the primary reasons I only review things I like or at least attempt to find positives in the things I review.

Freelance reviewer T. Michael Murdock reamed Conduit 2 earlier this month on gaming blog Joystiq, giving the Wii shooter one star out of five. Within a day, several negative reviews sprang up on the Amazon.com listing for Murdock’s book, The Dragon Ruby, which is linked in the writer’s Joystiq byline. Some of the reviews have since been deleted.