Annual Reviews


This year’s annual review process swung around fast! It seems like the team joined Ingram Digital just months ago. I’ve done them a few times, but this was the first review process I’ve done at ID. Reviews are a time for reflection. A time to make and receive input on how we’ve performed. A time to realize and face weaknesses and understand our strengths.

There were five appraisals of my developers, and one on myself. To normalize the results I did my self-appraisal first. I had everyone on the team do their own self-appraisal, too, but I avoided reviewing theirs until I’d done my appraisal of them. This was to make sure my scores weren’t skewed and to look for any disconnects.

I started by reading status reports I sent for the year. For the weeks without status reports I re-read email to make sure I didn’t miss any accomplishments. This was time consuming and highlights the need to maintain a tighter journal of deeds. I’ve done this for myself over the last ten years. Keeping a separate journal for one’s team is highly valuable and I’m going to start doing this beyond status reports.

My team rocks, and my entries in my self-appraisal are the result of their efforts. As I listed each accomplishment I thought, “My team made this. My team created that… I worked my face off, but what specifically did I do?” It’s strange to reflect on what one was responsible for, but did with the hands of others.

Appraisals for my team were less demanding after my own. For one, after this point I’d compiled the full list of the team’s accomplishments. For two, it’s easier to judge others after judging one’s self.

Some additional links on performance reviews:

Apple’s Mini DisplayPort adapter for DVI and dual-DVI

A Google search for Apple Dual-Link DVI yields a ton of product pages and blog posts about the greatness of Apple’s use of DVI. You’ll get quite a few of Apple’s own product pages, as would be expected. But only a few blogs are calling Apple out.

Apple recently released a new MacBook Pro. It has the most advanced laptop graphics equipment on the market, with dual NVIDIA 9400M and 9600GT chipsets. Apple has also employed a new port type, DisplayPort, that is not the same as Mini-DVI or Micro-DVI. This is a port that is easier to plug in than DVI and supports HDCP (high-bandwidth digital content protection).

People with needs for the best processing horsepower on the go are going to pick up this laptop. These professionals, myself included, are going to be disappointed. If you’re in to a high-end laptop like this you’re probably also pushing 30″ monitors. If not, you should be. But you can’t. The DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter doesn’t ship for 4-5 weeks (and that’s what they said on October 15th).

The image above is the dual-link DVI adapter from Apple. It’s a DisplayPort plus USB plug to a DVI female. Why does a dual-link DVI adapter require the addition of a USB plug? Giving up that extra USB port hurts. Paying Apple $99 to move us to a new port type is insulting.

So what’s with the delay? It doesn’t take 4-6 weeks to manufacture cables with DisplayPort, USB, and DVI plugs attached (the site has displayed 4-5 weeks for 4 weeks already). Either development of, or problems in, the circuitry is derailing Apple’s rollout. Or perhaps software driver updates will be required before the DisplayPort + USB adapters can be driven. If the latter, we would expect the adapters to ship at the same time as an OS update drops.

Apple, make this easy. Make it just work…

For more on DisplayPort see DisplayPort: what you need to know (Peter Cohen)

And for a little ridiculousness:

UPDATE: Another theory is that the chip for the adapter requires additional juice. The USB connector would simply be a power chord.

N82 for my broadcasts – iPhone 3G for everything else

I picked up the Nokia N82 yesterday from Import GSM, a great hybrid brick-and-mortage / online store. Think Dynamism for phones. It was my first visit, right at closing, and despite trying to get stuff out the door for the evening shipment the guys helped out with descriptions and subtle nuances between the N95 and N82 (special thanks to Eric – good guy).

Anyway, so why the heck would someone get a Nokia N82 when the iPhone 3G is getting released tomorrow? There are five reasons, one for each megapixel, and a lot of backup arguments. The iPhone 3G doesn’t hold a candle to the image sensor quality, flash, or lens quality.

This wasn’t meant to be an N82 vs. iPhone 3G post. They’re both the best mobile equipment one can get (imo).

The N82 is going to be my net enabled camera and broadcast machine. No more notebook + Canon SD-1000 combo!

The iPhone 3G is for everything else. I had the iPhone (1.0 / original / whatever). iPhones are the best for usability and communication. I gave it to my wife and she’s gone from check-email-and-browse-at-home to check-email-send-texts-and-monitor-weather-while-away. The wife-o-meter was pegged.

The Nokia’s OS, after 30 hours of tweaking, is finally usable for me. Very steep appreciation curve. I would only recommend such a phone to a power user needing the best tool for quality images… I can’t wait to start posting and qik’ing them.

A spontanious and unsolicited positive review

A YouTube video spread like wildfire around the iofy office today…

At a startup you look forward to the day when people recognize your product and respond with positive words. At iofy we’ve received many many positive letters, thank you notes and feedback, but this is the first video we’ve found reviewing our audiobook chip product. It was entirely unsolicited.

Flow – Day 9 – I switched to iChat for Twitter XMPP

iChat Count 386 – 7 minutes


When following a lot of friends in a flow environment and using XMPP, one sees the above numbers in less than ten minutes. I’d been using Adium, but Adium doesn’t smooth scroll between each received tweet. It constantly jerks messages upwards and has made it virtually impossible to have a meaningful experience. There are often times when I want to read each incoming tweet. A good, smooth, reading experience was needed.

iChat has a slightly smoother hit at each received message, and is therefore much more enjoyable to read. The interface is customizable enough, but nothing quite as nice as some of Adium’s minimal themes.

I was mostly hesitant to switch since Adium has outstanding AppleScript support. I’ve been thinking of prototyping something (given a couple hours – someday). Apparently iChat has something even better which I should have known about… Callbacks! A script can fire for each received message.

This will make dynamic, real-time, filtering a reality.

iChat AppleScript

The start of something very cool…