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MoviePass, First Impression

About three weeks after signing up for MoviePass, I received my MoviePass card in the mail last week. MoviePass enables the subscriber to attend one standard movie per day for just under $10 per month. In other words as a MoviePass subscriber, I can go to a theatre and see a non-3D movie everyday. If I see one movie per month, my MoviePass subscription seems like a nearly break-even financial decision.


Last Friday night with my recently received MoviePass card in hand, I decided to go see Lego Ninjango with my son. I briefly skimmed the packet that came with my card, but I didn't download the MoviePass app or take any special action. I just went to a self-service kiosk to purchase my ticket and my MoviePass card was declined. Without much additional consideration, I went to the ticket window and tried again. The transaction failed but the theatre employee asked, "did you check-in on the app?" She then added, "but if it doesn't work that's a MoviePass problem…
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Nest Thermostat Installation Tips (2nd Generation)

I've been looking to add a Nest Thermostat to the house for years.  I'm probably the only person in our house that enjoys voice commands, but being able to voice control the thermostat is something I want to do. This weekend an awesome neighbor that had a spare Nest, let us borrow one to see if we like it. 

The unit I'm borrowing, pictured above, is a 2nd generation device. 3rd generation Nest thermostats are currently in stores with rumors of a new version around the corner.

Of course the industrial design is really good, but I want to briefly share my installation experience in bullet form:
Installation isn't physically hard. Nest includes a screwdriver that will help you remove your old unit and install your Nest thermostat. The white plate in the picture above is included in the box. This plate eliminates the need to patch holes or paint when removing larger thermostats.Getting the wiring correct is another more difficult story that required trial and error. For ex…

31 Days of July

A few days before July started I had a realization that I was destined to be in an unhealthy state well into the future unless I tried something different. An idea came to mind to try and really push myself for 31 consecutive days to be healthier. For the month of July (including a week of vacation at the beach), I was going to focus on three tactics to improve my health.


My idea was pretty simple. One, I wanted to track my caloric intake with a goal of less than 2,000 net calories per day. Net calories for me was caloric intake minus exercise. My second goal was to drink 100 ounces of water daily. The third and final goal was to walk more than 10,000 steps every day. Let me say that I'm relatively healthy. I didn't consult a doctor before I started this program, and I'm not providing any health advice. Before you start any program you should consult your primary care physician.

In addition to the three goals above, I also decided to go to battle against sugar. I started r…

Passed the FAA Part 107 aka Drone Test

Last summer my brother-in-law showed me some video he captured with a drone over a small river in central South Carolina. The video was a slow moving shot about 30 feet above the water going upstream. I was immediately mesmerized. The video was peaceful. Aerial video is something us humans can't naturally do and I could watch aerial video for hours.

After seeing Rob's video, I got the bug to learn more about small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS).



After about ten months of looking at drones and considering what I would do with one, I made the leap and purchased a DJI Phantom 4. This is a very popular quadcopter with built-in safety features such as forward-facing collision avoidance. The Phantom 4 also has a 4K video camera that is capable of capturing the high-resolution video that attracted me to the idea of one day piloting my own sUAS.

Because I was planning to upload what I hope will be a mesmerizing collection of videos to YouTube which can be monetized, I decided it was…

Voice Is the Future Input Device

2017 is the year we really start talking to our computers. Without question, Amazon's Alexa kicked off 2017 at CES by dominating the show. Amazon didn't even have an official booth at CES for Alexa, but the Amazon voice assistant was mentioned throughout the four day event.

This is also the year I purchased a Google Home (one of Amazon Echo's competitors), and my Nexus 6P phone was auto-updated with Google Assistant (one of Amazon Alexa's competitors). Google Home and Google Assistant allow natural speech to Google's vast services layer and knowledge graph. As a family we've enjoyed talking to Google Home. I've paired the Google Home with several Belkin Wemo switches and we can rather naturally turn off a few lights around the house.


I also wrote a basic Google Action to learn more about the guts of natural language processing (NLP) development. I used Google's API.AI to create the voice interactions with almost "drag and drop" ease. The only …

Paradox of Growth

Recently, I've been burning through the HBR Ideacast. It's a podcast. As an MBA and constant learner, it's one of my favorite. If you have time and are curious about why so many companies experience stellar growth and then stall this episode of the HBR Ideacast is for you.

If you don't have time to listen to the 18:05 podcast here's the notes I took...

All businesses and most people want to experience growth. We want to grow our knowledge and our finances. However, growth creates complexity. Growth creates internal complexity. Growth creates external complexity. The ideas that fuel growth generate complexity, and lots of it. Paradoxically, the accumulation of complexity is the silent killer of growth.

Organizations that have experienced growth often have the passing luxury of building complex decision processes. Organizational layers of management start to distort information so much that senior leaders in the company no longer know what's actually going on. Gr…

Make Me Smart, Mini Review

I try to be task driven and agile. I use Todoist to maintain my personal backlog with each day being a new sprint with the goal of four to five tasks completed per day. One of today's main tasks was to write a mini review of Make Me Smart - the new podcast from APM hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood. I've been a fan of public radio since I began listening on my short commutes to work way back in 1999. My favorite public radio show by far is Marketplace. I'm a business news junkie. Marketplace is hosted by Kai. Kai is one of the few news people I follow on Twitter. I follow him because he's a good filter and retweets things that might prove to be important. I don't think Kai and I would be good friends, but I do respect him. He's smart and makes a very honest attempt to stay connected with how business impacts people in regular places like Erie, MI and Athens, GA. He has hosted Marketplace from these two cities. When Kai interviews people he pushes them to an…