Twitter for team building

Even though you are around your co-workers all day, sometimes I feel that I have no idea what they are working on. It would be nice to send out some kind of unobtrusive message to let people know what you are up to. A service like Twitter would be a good solution to this problem.

Twitter is a great social networking tool for keeping up with what your friends are doing. Your inbox is overflowing already, so sending an email will get ignored and you might be the target of aggression if you send to many. Instant messaging is too “in your face” and is not designed to send out message to multiple people. Twitter allows people to post short messages that other people can subscribe to and read at their leisure. In my organization Twitter is blocked and to be honest I would only want my coworkers to get my updates, so a private server would be great. I did some searching and found a few open source options, but none of them ready for production or not easy to setup. In my searches I found a very interesting article that suggests using WordPress as a Twitter-like service or more of a shared “microblog”. I setup WordPress and use the Prologue theme to make it look more like Twitter and while it’s not exactly the same it does get the job done. You could even leave comments to an individual post. This might be useful if you asked the group a question. Now my team can just update their status via a browser or email, for mobile users, and I think this would facilitate communication among the group, especially if the group is geographically distributed. The last step to make this as effective as possible is notification when your team makes updates. This can be accomplished via the built in WordPress RSS feeds. You can set up any number of RSS readers to notify you of updates of status. The hard part is getting others to update often otherwise it is not as useful.

microblog.jpg

Update: We were quoted on the Winning Workplace Blog.

Xbox RRoD really sucks

My Xbox 360 displayed the 3 Red Ring of Death (RRoD) last week and I’m understandably perturbed. Now I’m no stranger to the RRoD (this is my third), but in the previous instances the Bestbuy warranty allowed me to simply exchange the defective unit no questions asked. I figured after the first 2 times the third times a charm and Microsoft had figured out the bugs and fix this issues. Right?! Wrong! Here I am again 3 years later and now my warranty is expired. To top it I had modded the DVD to play “backups” of my games, thus voiding any manufactures warranty.  I heard there were some “fixes” for the RR0D and I figured I had nothing to lose. Apparently the issues is caused from overheating and potentially the CPU/GPU getting separated from the motherboard. I tried the penny trick and it

Penny  trick
Penny trick

worked once, now it’s RRoDing again. I also added a fan to try to cool the system down further (See pic).

The next “fix” I found involves bolting the CPU/GPU down with machine screws. We’ll see how that goes.

Update: I fixed my Xbox using the screws. See my latest post.

xbox 360

ASUS AN8 SLI Deluxe not booting

The other day I rebooted my system and it would not boot up all the way. The last message it was hung at was the ACPI check. When I am troubleshooting I remove all unnecessary devices. When I removed my USB Sansa mp3 player, the system booted normally. This may be the work with other motherboards as well.

WoW: Wrath of the Lich King

My brother-in-law and I waited, with many other devoted gamers, at GameStop to get my copy of the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack at midnight last night. We first went to a popular GameSpot nearby and waited dutifully on line with the other WoW addicts. About 30 minutes before midnight, GameStop employees made the rounds to see if everyone had their reserve receipts. Oops! Unlike many who were there, I regrettably did not reserve a copy before showing up. After being told that there were only enough copies for those that reserved them, we went to another GameStop in the nearby area on the off chance that they might have extra copies. We were in luck! Not only was the line shorter we were able to get our copy (cash only) 15 minutes before midnight.

Blizzard decided to put the install files on a DVD instead of the 4 CDs that the last expansion, Burning Crusade, came on. By 1:00 am I was installing. By 1:30am, it was patching. I was somewhat surprised how many patches had been released before the launch. I watched the Lich King cinematic trailer before the log on screen. The boat to the Northrend was full of gamers who undoubtedly followed my actions. The city was like any other city and the excitement soon wore off and tiredness set in and I was off to bed since I had work the next day. I overheard many patrons that were waiting on line had taken a week off work for this event in anticipation of the long nights ahead on their way to level 80 and new content. I will have to see what the world offers when I have some free time.

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