The most beautiful leaf

A beautiful leafWe had a huge snowfall two days ago. After the snow was finished falling, I came across this amazing leaf. I loved the transition from red to orange to yellow. The small imperfections only added to the beauty.

I decided to shoot the leaf on dry deck boards and wet. It was interesting how different the photos turned out.

I hope your autumn is going well (if you’re in the northern hemisphere).


Leaves suggestion

Staging area for leavesInitial disclaimer: if your municipal or private trash collection service collects leaves and mulches them, ignore this post!

However, if your trash service does not collect organic waste – and you don’t have a neighbor who can use them in their garden, this suggestion is for you…

If you have trees in your yard (if you have a yard) and they are dumping down the leaves, I have an idea for you.

Don’t rake them up and put them in plastic bags to be taken away by the trash truck. Put them into a staging area and then fill your garbage cans each week till they are gone.

The leaves won’t go away. They’ll wait patiently until your garbage cans have enough room. If you’re in a windy area, jump on the leaves so they become a more solid mass.

Disclaimer: I realize that composting is an even better solution, but if you don’t have a garden, you have to do something with those leaves.



Pause buttonI am sorry to say that I have to pause this blog for a while. I’m not sure how long. At the moment, there are too many irons in my fire, and something had to go.

Stay tuned. I promise I’ll be back.

Update: This point in my blogging simply turned into my giving myself the freedom to post less often. Again. Thanks for your patience with me as I keep changing my personal blogging experience.


Label properly

Recycling at IKEAI love IKEA. But they did not get their trash cans right. What are blue recyclables and what are green recyclables?

If I’m the only one with that question, no problem. My guess is that others might be confused too. Many cumulative staff hours must have been spent on explaining which kind of objects go into each bin. And many people probably were just confused and threw recyclables into the trash bin.

The very simple solution would be to have diagrams of types of objects that go into each bin.


How pure are you?

cigaretteWhen you put money into a retirement fund, do you check if that fund supports the tobacco industry?

If you buy baby formula, do you check if that company markets their formula aggressively to new mothers in developing countries – at the expense of their children’s health?

It’s hard to be pure in this world. Most decisions end up being the best of the mix we can find. Or we may not examine all the factors that go into a decision.

I’m often too lazy to examine my decisions. And sometimes I know the potential downsides to a decision, but I make it anyway.

My friend Tim Gier, a vegan, makes most of his decisions with a very focused approach. I admire that.

What’s a decision you made that you later regretted?


Why I love my Apple stuff

Screen shot of a cell phone manual I took a photo over the weekend with my cheap phone, and wanted to share it with my friend who was in the picture.

I couldn’t.

Why? The image was about 25 pixels square. Somehow when my daughter was playing around with the phone’s camera, she changed the resolution. For me to find out how to change the resolution back, I had to find the box the phone came in, dig out the CD that had the manual on it, copy that file to my computer – and then search for the answer. (Manual is shown at the left.)

The phone settings area on the phone was not where the resolution setting was. It was buried deeper in another menu.

I’m not saying Apple is perfect – often I can find an answer to my Mac question faster by doing a Google search than by using its built-in help files. But I am saying that Apple mostly gets it right, when it comes to usability issues like this.

If you haven’t tried an Apple product, I’d suggest you start with an iPod. You might be amazed.


Review: Rise Bar

Are you running out of energy at about 10 am? Does that lull hit around 3 pm?

I found a good, healthy solution – the Rise Bar.

I’ll start with my disclosure – Rise Bar was a sponsor of PodCamp Denver, the event I led last weekend. So I had the opportunity to try several flavors. Every kind I tried was tasty. (I wasn’t able to try all 12 different flavors.)

Rise BarRise Bar has a unique twist on giving you healthy energy – different bars are designed for different times of the day.

My favorite part about Rise Bars is that the ingredients are all healthy. And they’re proud enough about what’s in each bar to make the type very visible! (See the photo.)

My wife has a gluten intolerance. All of them are gluten-free.

All the ingredients are organic. I used to be skeptical about the value of organic food, but when I eat it instead of regular food, I can actually tell the difference in how I feel. (I’m not saying that I have converted completely to eating organic food; but I eat it when I can.)

My friend Tim can enjoy them with a clean conscience – the Energy+ Bars are vegan friendly.

Lest you think I am totally ravingly positive about them, I have to admit that I got a few for my kids, and they didn’t like them very much. (I think their taste buds are pretty slanted toward over sweetness. I can’t stand the breakfast cereals they like.)

So visit Rise Bar’s site. You can order online or they have a store locator. And if there’s not a store near you, they have a letter you can print out to take to your grocery store. Then they can easily stock Rise Bars!


Exercise and save time

Choose to walkYou know you need to exercise. I know that I do. You know that you need to run lots of errands each week.

Why not combine the two?

Riding your bicycle or walking to that place will take you more time. But you have to go there anyway! Why drive to the gym and run on a treadmill when in the same time it would take you to do both, you could save fuel, help the environment and enjoy being outside?

Disclaimer: I realize this only works if you live in a town big enough that you can do your errands close to home.


A very sad day

Steve Jobs RIPSteve died yesterday (October 5, 2011).

He made a huge impact on humanity – and how we relate to technology.

Apologies to Apple, who probably won’t mind my re-posting their front page.


Laws are good

Bus lane cameras in LondonWe all need help obeying the law.

If you look carefully at the bottom left corner of this photo, you’ll see a “Bus lane cameras” sign, reminding drivers that if they drive in the bus lane, a camera will take a photograph of their license plate (or “registration tag,” as it’s called in London, where I took this pic). Then the government will send a large fine to the driver for breaking the law.

This little system allows buses to move much faster than if the bus lanes were clogged with cars who shouldn’t be there.

Similarly, in my state, red light cameras are at almost every intersection. It’s the same deal – if I run a red light, I will get a huge fine. It amounts to a tax to help cash-starved local governments – but it also keeps me from running a red light.

What enforcement system in your world keeps you on the straight and narrow?