8 Adobe Air Applications That Will Rock Your World Wide Web

Elite by Design lists eight of its favorite AIR-based applications and writes about AIR technology. The blog states, “Could this [AIR] be one of the revolutionary new changes that dominate and define the course of programming for the next generation of web based applications? Well, one thing’s for sure; it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.” The list includes Klok, TweetDeck and Pandora.

I use the Google Analytics app and highly recommend it.

Labels: ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 7:16 AM, ,

Food fight !

An abridged history of American-centric warfare, from WWII to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict.

For a breakdown of the actual battles portrayed in the film, visit:

For the official cheat sheet (breakdown of the foodstuffs), visit:


posted by Lee Gale @ 3:15 AM, ,

Outsourcing life

Another one of the blog topics I thought worth spinning off from The 4-Hour Workweek was about outsourcing life.

In the book, Tim looks at what we you can eliminate, automate and then delegate to a lower cost person/organisation so you can focus your time on the important tasks that perhaps only you can do.

I calculated my time (simplistically) to be worth about $130 per hour, so $10-$20 for someone else to save me that time becomes a no-brainer. This goes to the time leveraging concept I blogged about in Are You Spending Your Time the Right Way?

So it did get me thinking about outsourcing some tasks that will help me drive sales at Adobe, or growth my partners business, or simply get stuff off my plate that I'm not going to be able to complete as time efficiently as someone else might.

So as previously blogged, I've been trialling various Virtual Assistant (V.A.) services. You can read about the start of this journey here: for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

I have ended up staying with GetFriday as they best suit how I want to work. I'm a pretty detailed person so really like to see how someone came to a result and didn't miss something I would have considered vital to the end result. I like GetFriday's pool of assistants that I get access to via my V.A., Prathima, who is excellent in this regards and so far has helped us with our upcoming holiday and now with some tasks for my partner's business, Enflexion.

Key to making this work has been clear task definition, including the time to be allocated to it (checkout my blog on Parkinson's law) so as to avoid 'surprises'.


posted by Lee Gale @ 5:47 PM, ,

Clusterf#@k to the Poor House - Dude, Where's My Car Industry?

More hilarious commentary from Jon Stewart on the past weeks news from Detroit:

This frames a slew of commentary on weather US taxpayers should or should not save the Detroit Big 3.

Mitt Romney's op-ed piece on NY Times is interesting particularly because he suggests blowing up the management that drove them into this mess whilst attempting to maintain employment for workers and dealers. The Bloomberg piece drives the point home on management needing to absorb significant change whilst this news on Chrysler's management bonuses puts the nail in the coffin... but it's great to see they retained 'talent' with the program. :-)

The Carroll Plan is a little more drastic and I think would suit the industry if you had 2 years to scale up the factories in question, but the US doesn't have that sort of time.

Labels: , ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 6:47 AM, ,

Parkinson's law

One of the blog topics I thought worth spinning off from The 4-Hour Workweek was about Parkinson's law - that work expands to fill the time available.

Tim gave us some interesting anecdotes about how, when given time for a task (i.e. a deadline), we'll find ways to use all that time for a task, often increasing the complexity & importance of it unnecessarily.

I blogged about a similar topic in Are You Spending Your Time the Right Way?, where I specifically noted how people have the tendency to use the full 1hr meeting rather than cover the agenda topics efficiently and finish the meeting early.

It's something I've become more acutely aware of and started setting shorter time allocations for tasks in an attempt to drive increased effectiveness.

One of the tips Tim had for readers was to identify 'crutch' activities you use to avoid completing tasks and confront these head-on. One of mine , which has been significantly reduced over the years, is to switch from a task and check emails to see if something 'urgent' had come up that I could deal with instead. Again, Tim looks at the cost of 'switching' as one of the villains on our effective use of time.

I'm keen to hear how readers might handle this issue and what tactics you use to avoid wasting time on tasks.

There is a pretty interesting article here on the discipline of productivity: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/developing-productive-habits-requires-productive-action-%E2%80%94-how-to-defeat-the-cycle.html


posted by Lee Gale @ 9:50 AM, ,

Jedi mind trick

Let me take you on a quick flashback to March 2008 with the Jon Stewart's "Broken Arrow" clip. I love the "Jedi mind trick" comment at the very end. Riot.

Labels: , ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 10:36 PM, ,

Pareto's law

One of the blog topics I thought worth spinning off from The 4-Hour Workweek was about Pareto's law aka the 80/20 rule - that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

There is no doubting this rule is universally used and should be part of any business person's analytical process as a method of focusing on top priorities where doing little effort will yield the maximum results ... but it shouldn't be the only tool used to review a situation.

As this Lifehack blog wisely notes, there are times, of course, when this rule doesn’t apply. Mastering a skill can be one of those areas where the 80/20 advice is faulty.


posted by Lee Gale @ 5:50 AM, ,

The 4-Hour Workweek

Back in July 2008, Mark Szulc and I had dinner at Great India in Wellington - the place that has kind of become a ritual every time we're both in Wellington together.

On our way back to our respective hotels, we were chatting about career's and the workloads of various paths. Mark asked me if I enjoyed the 'politics' (which is a terrible term for something that I think is quite an important part of an organisation... mmm, blog topic in incubation!), the travel, the workload, etc we both face in our current and possible future roles. I said "yes". For me, my work/career is really like a hobby that I get paid to do. If I had $100m parked in a bank account somewhere, I'd still be doing a version of this every day.

Mark suggested I read The 4-Hour Workweek and let him know if I still felt the same way.

Well, after completing the book, I do. But I would suggest it has opened my eyes to some alternative ways of getting more out of the effort I put into my work.

The core of Tim's framework to an alternative work life is D.E.A.L: Definition, Elimination, Automation and Liberation.

I totally agree with Tim’s view of living your life vs working to save so you can enjoy life in your retirement. Additionally, setting ‘unreasonable’ goals is something my partner and I talk about a lot as we try to find new goals and dreams to chase.

I'm going to follow this introduction up with a few topics that this book has got me thinking about:
  1. Pareto's law aka the 80/20 rule
  2. Parkinson's law
  3. Low information diet
  4. To-do lists
  5. Outsourcing life
  6. When you ask for something can have more impact than how you ask
Tim also touches on topics I've covered in the past including: emphasizing strengths, not fixing weaknesses - this allows you to achieve multiplication of results by leveraging your strengths instead of incremental gain from fixing your weaknesses. For more on this line of thinking, check out First, Break All The Rules.

Labels: ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 3:28 AM, ,

Presentation to SAP Australia User Group

On November 19th & 20th, the SAP Australia User Group (SAUG) held their 32nd Plenary at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne.

As usual, the Adobe team were on fire: Andrew with his Flex introduction and demonstrations, and Lindsay with his Connect overview. My presentation on SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe is available below (click on the image):

Don't ask me about the funny colour conversions and the lack of narration. You can chalk both up to me deciding to just provide the presentation online and favouring expediency over perfectionism... which is actually a rare occurrence for me :-)

Labels: , ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 1:32 PM, ,

Save Money & Resources with Eco Responsible Datacenters

Checkout Sun's web cast on cost savings in datacenters around power & heat/cooling consumption to support datacenters: http://nettalk.sun.com/bhive/c/1000/1488/index.html.

The link to the web casts assets is here: http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/environment/green/datacenter.jsp?intcmp=lnch08_datacenter

Regardless as to what your role is relative to Information Technology, you have to give Sun credit for taking the "eco" sales pitch to CIO's effectively in an effort to sell newer servers & storage.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:16 AM, ,


Adobe announced yesterday the release of Codename "Cocomo", a Platform as a Service that allows Flex developers to easily add real-time social capabilities into their RIA (rich Internet applications). Comprised of both Flex-based client components and a hosted services infrastructure, Cocomo allows you to build real-time, multi-user applications with Flex in less time than ever before. And because Acrobat.com hosts the service, issues like deployment, maintenance, and scalability are taken care of for you.

Add social features to your existing Flex apps or build totally new ones, such as real-time productivity/collaboration apps, multiplayer games, and audio/video chat.

Way cool !

Labels: ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 1:02 AM, ,

2009 Tesla Roadster

A while back I wrote about the Lightning GT electric car and mentioned the Tesla Roadster.

Well, after a few delays in getting to market (and worrying all of us that eagerly await a real hybrid/electric car rather than the crap that Toyota is handing us), the first test drive is online here: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/convertibles/112_0810_2009_tesla_roadster_one_speed/index.html

0-100 in 3.9 seconds. Yum!!!!

So, sadly, it seems no plans to have this in Australia. There are apparently plans to have an edition for Europe, but this is still left-hand drive.

I am not a happy camper.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:10 PM, ,

The Titanic’s Last Secret

If you've a passing interest in the Titanic and all the mystic that surrounds it, I'd recommend reading this Newsweek article from October 20th, 2008: http://www.newsweek.com/id/162267


posted by Lee Gale @ 3:56 PM, ,

Facelifted Boxster & Cayman

The news of the face-lifted Porsche Boxster & Cayman has started trickling in after images appeared on Porsche's online car configurator.

These new models that go on sale next year get subtly tweaked exteriors with restyled headlights, new air intakes and LED tail lights.

According to AutoExpress, the cars will also get new, more powerful engines, which is good for them... a complaint everyone seems to have, myself included after a few test drives over the years, is that these cars could definitely handle more power.

Apparently they will also receive Porsche's PDK twin-clutch gearbox. This is mixed news. The gearbox is apparently to die for... but why must Porsche buck the rest of the industry and mount the silly gear shift buttons on the inside of the steering wheel, rather than the flappy paddle set-up that is favoured?

When I test drove the outgoing Cayman about a year ago, I was looking for a reason not to buy another Merc. I was disappointed on a number of fronts:
  1. The gearshift: back then, the 5-speed tiptronic was on offer. Okay, I know purists will yell that you must buy Porsche's as manuals. To them I say "drive your Porsche daily in Sydney traffic and tell me you still enjoy it". End of conversation. The old gearbox would be fine if you wanted an auto car, but I don't. I want an all-rounder that can deal with peak hour commuting and be rewarding to drive on a fast back-road on weekends. Whilst the new PDK sounds like it addresses the deficiencies of the old gearbox, the stupid setup of the shift buttons neutralises this gain;

  2. The seat: I'm reasonably tall and the Cayman's seat was about 1 inch too short for me. After a 15 minute test drive, my lower back was sore; and

  3. The options list: one word - Extortion. Let me compare the AMG pricing for you with the Porsche pricing model. Everything you want as part of the standard price i.e. the wheels, the sat nav, suspension, gearbox, etc. Versus $15k for the wheels you want, $5k for the sat nav, etc. Total scope creep that took the price of the 'cheaper' car (the Cayman S) a good $15k over the price of the SLK55 AMG once on-roads had been calculated.
It was such a pity - I wanted to buy that car... but the product just wasn't for me. That and it isn't a 911.

Check out the updated 911 with PDK review by TopGear Australia below:


posted by Lee Gale @ 4:38 PM, ,

The Ownership Myth

The Newsweek article from October 20th, 2008, titled The Ownership Myth by Robert Shiller is an interesting look at the home ownership dream that was a key ingredient for the sub-prime crisis that the US is grappling with, and that subsequently cascaded into the global financial crisis we're all living through.

Robert makes the point that home ownership as your sole investment is a bad investment strategy. It's interesting how this argument goes out the window when one's emotions kick in...


posted by Lee Gale @ 4:05 PM, ,

Exceeding Dunbar's number on my social network sites

I am having to rethinking my 'friends' list on Facebook at the moment.

Presently I have 262 'friends'.

I've clearly exceeded Dunbar's Number - the supposed cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable social relationships: the kind of relationships that go with knowing who each person is and how each person relates socially to every other person - and it's bugging me.

It's bugging me because Facebook terms these contacts as 'friends'. What I'd love Facebook to provide is different types of contacts. Family, Friends, Friends of Friends, Work Colleagues, etc. I'll give Facebook their dues, you can slice up your privacy settings to achieve these results, but better grouping would allow you to more simply glance at who you invited to an event, sent an email to, etc

I think this limitation explains why on LinkedIn I have 351 'connections'.

'Connections'... a much better blanket term, but it doesn't solve my Facebook dilemma.


posted by Lee Gale @ 4:08 PM, ,

Who Moved My Cheese?

Back in December 2005, Adobe officially acquired Macromedia in a merger agreement. Whilst this was excellent news for customers and shareholders due to the product synergies this provided, the news for employees was less clear-cut, primarily due to all the stress that goes with a merger.

My journey was, frankly, the most traumatic experience of my adult life. My career that I'd been cultivating with Adobe for 3 years prior was completely changed. I moved from an Asia Pacific role reporting to a WW VP based at head-office who had decades of experience at companies like IBM and Peoplesoft, to a local country manager that had no previous experience of comparable requirement.

During this change, I dealt with it largely in my own way, and whilst I had fantastic support from my partner, I didn't really know how to compartmentalise problems at work with my home life.

Thankfully, the year's experience was valuable for my personal growth and my career with Adobe survived. In that year, I learned a lot about corporate culture (which I'll talk about when reviewing the book Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?) , communication with your partner and what you want in life (which I touched on when discussing my fitness program and I'll also cover more later), and dealing with change in general.

I was put on to Who Moved My Cheese? by a colleague at work AFTER I had already really started dealing with the issues mentioned above. :-) Oh well, it was brilliant anyway in providing a frame for the views I had developed.

It's a really short book (96 pages) by Dr Spencer Johnson, author of the One Minute Manager series, but don't let the size of the book fool you into thinking it doesn't have enough content. It is because the book is so succinct and to the point that it is relevant.

Who Moved My Cheese? is written in the style of a parable and describes change in one's work and life, and four typical reactions to said change with two mice, two "little people", and their hunts for cheese. Wikipedia has a pretty good outline.

Who Moved My Cheese? is definitely one of my recommendations for everyone's book shelf. Whilst I haven't quiet mastered the art of not reacting to my cheese being moved (I'll implore my partner not to add verbose comments to this statement!), thanks to the simple reminders in this book, I'm getting a little better.

Labels: ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 3:33 AM, ,

The Monster That Ate Wall Street

The Newsweek article from October 13th, 2008, titled The Monster That Ate Wall Street by Matthew Philips takes a look at how the credit default swap (CDS) became the hot financial instrument.

It's interesting to read how a good idea when poorly implemented can lead to such enormous problems. One of the panelist's at the SAP World Tour event made the parallel comment - and to paraphrase: "My experience from my time with venture capital taught me an average idea backed by a superb management team has more change of success than a superb idea backed by an average management team".

Having worked at JPMorgan in their Sydney office for the firms statistical average of 2.4 years in 1996-1998, I'm finding it interesting to see how much a role the firm has been playing in helping to create and clean up the mess. I'm finding myself missing being in the middle of these sorts of events... although I'm sure those in the eye of the storm would happily trade positions.


posted by Lee Gale @ 7:31 AM, ,

To buy, or not to buy - that is the question

I've recently had a guilty moment that forced me to think logically about owning a car like the Mercedes Gullwing, the Masterati GT, the SL65 Black or the Audi R8. The moment in question was viewing a A$2.65m apartment and realising my income doesn't stretch to cover both supercar and stepping up on the apartment front.

In Australia, there are two supercar clubs: P1 and The Supercar Club. If there are others I've not included of similar vein, please comment and enlighten me. These clubs operate on the basis that you just want to enjoy a variety of cars and not deal with the mundane aspects of ownership.

Both of them work on a similar basis: pay a subscription, get points & use them up via a matrix program that is influenced by the type of car & the day(s) of the year.

So, a bit of research:
Now at this point in the research I'm beginning to suspect they are run by the same mob... P1's three plans match almost exactly Supercar Club's middle three plans... down to the names. If that is the case, that is clever positioning: create the competition (that you own) thereby validating the market and appearing to provide consumers choice & competition. They'd also have a higher usage of cars (as they are shared) and thereby have a higher return on assets.

Back to the research:
At this point I'd encourage someone to check my math... since I did only attain 39% for this subject in my HSC (why the heck they don't let you use spreadsheets I don't know! I'd have kicked ass.).

Okay, so let's use round numbers and say 20 days per annum. That's just 10 weeks per year of Sat & Sun usage. Not a lot of days to enjoy an Aston Martin Vantage or a Porsche Carrera, neither of which I'd rate much higher than my SLK55.

Now, ROI time:
Mmm. Close enough to break even. I think I want the 37 minutes of my life back it took to figure that out and blog it. :-)

I guess I haven't factored in depreciation of the MX-5 vs a $200k car, especially if you are using the Porsche or Aston as your every day car, so that would tilt things in favor of the club (and provide me a sense that that 37 minutes was not futile!).


posted by Lee Gale @ 3:54 PM, ,

Gladwell on the War on Drugs in sport

I'd recommend the quick read of these two articles by Malcolm Gladwell:

Malcolm always takes an interesting position on issues that I find appealing.

I love the closing remark: "I realize that the people running major league baseball and the NFL are not philosophers. But the intellectual sloppiness with which this current crusade has been conducted is appalling."

If you haven't checked out his books, Tipping Point and Blink, I'd encourage you to do so.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:13 PM, ,

Sono candidati ad entrare Lazio autostrada Dipartimento di Polizia

In English (at least according to Google Translate): I'm applying to join the Lazio Highway Police Department after Lamborghini donated a Gallardo LP560-4 to the Lazio Highway Police Department.

Checkout the scoop in more detail at WorldCarFans.

Clearly, I'd have little interest in booking speeding drivers - I mean, how low can you get? - but I like the sound of being paid to drive the Lambo for emergency medical transport. Apparently the car’s front luggage compartment has been fitted with a refrigeration unit, allowing it to carry donor organs from hospital to hospital with extreme urgency. Cool (excuse the pun).

Apparently the Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia is the third Gallardo police car. The first two have clocked 87,000 and 65,000 miles respectively... I'm shuddering to think of what that does to the resale value.


posted by Lee Gale @ 4:46 PM, ,

A Lesson From Stockholm

The Newsweek article from October 13th, 2008, titled A Lesson From Stockholm by Holger Schmieding is a great article that looks at the precedence for government bailouts for a nations banking system, as well as a warning of why the current actions of the US government fall short on several fronts.

Of particular interest is how quickly the burden on the government abated, as well as how small a cost the nation actually bore.


posted by Lee Gale @ 2:27 AM, ,

How Detroit Drove Into a Ditch

I'd encourage anyone with a passing interesting in business in general and/or the automotive industry to check out this WSJ article titled "How Detroit Drove Into a Ditch"

Labels: ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 4:27 PM, ,

SAP World Tour 2008

On November 5th I had the good fortune to attend the SAP World Tour 2008 event in Sydney.

This years event was designed for small to medium sized businesses, which was both relevant to me for my directorship with Enflexion (a small web software business founded and managed by my partner) and my job at Adobe managing what we call "a start up business within an established organisation".

Don't be fooled by the agenda posted on the SAP events site: there were no demos or specifics about technology at all - it was all about managing a business for growth in today's climate.

Dr. Jana Matthews, founder and CEO of The Jana Matthews Group, was the keynote speaker and I think the framework she presented for thinking during the various stages of business growth was simple yet powerful.

I particularly liked Jana's comment when asked "how to motivate employees in this climate". Her response was "I don't see a manager's role to motivate employees, rather, the manager's role is to hire motivated people and then try not to demotivate them whilst managing them".

I believe the tour is almost over (checkout the remaining cities & dates here), but you if you are in locations like Tokyo, San Jose, etc, I'd encourage you to go along to hear the speakers perspective on growing a small to medium business in this economic climate.

Labels: ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 1:01 AM, ,


My first book review that I blogged, was The Tipping Point. The second book that Gladwell brings us is Blink.

Blink takes a look at rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye.

I had been introduced to the idea of 'thin-slicing' previously as 'filters' your brain has for what it will and won't take notice of. I can't remember where but I suspect I've just supported the point of the book!

I believe the author's research and assessment of 'blinking' was quite balanced - both the positive and negative views on it - but in taking a look online at the commentary about the book, I marvel at how it appears so many people seem to have absorbed only half the book.

For instance: I don't agree with the Wikipedia comment: "he finds that experts often make better decisions with snap judgments than they do with volumes of analysis". I think Gladwell did suggest in some cases this can be true, but I don't think that's all he suggested, rather, that once we're aware of a situation and the influential forces acting in that situation we can leverage our experience to short-cut much of that analysis. I'd content you had to have done some of that analysis at least once (i.e. study) to fully understand the situation and therefore be able to more rapidly assess it, but I don't think you can forgo that study completely.

As Gladwell writes on his website: "It's thinking--its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with 'thinking'".

Interestingly, in writing this blog I came across the book Think, which from the looks of things takes offence at half the argument (the positive aspects of 'blinking') and mounts the opposing argument on the 'snap judgement' front. Given my view is that Gladwell didn't really make the point that we should all just start being lazy with our brains and instead try to understand and harness this power, I'll be skipping Think. Having said that, I'm sure Gladwell is pleased that someone has taken the time to put up an opposing view (assuming they didn't merely attempt to crudely capitalise on his success).

At the very least, you should take away from this book a better understanding of the process your mind goes through when you 'judge that book by it's cover'.

Labels: ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 4:06 PM, ,

The Spiral

Unless you are a President, Prime Minister, Treasure Secretary, etc, you are probably as resigned to the sidelines of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) as I am.

I learned a while back to focus on the things I can change and try to make sense of the stuff I can't. Soon after that, I discovered finding the humour in it was even better than making sense of it! :-)

Going Private has posted these hilarious clips, merging the images from the movie Downfall with a plot from the GFC into a 9-part (so far) series. It's kind of like a "what might have happened if Hitler was running an ailing financial services firm in the current climate".

I was going to attempt a disclaimer to ensure readers don't get confused as to what I find amusing about this series... but to do so would have been to assume you were either a humourless git or a 3 year old. :-)

Check them out on YouTube:

The Spiral - Part I - Those Vultures

The Spiral - Part II - Managing Directors Everywhere

The Spiral - Part III - On Stage

The Spiral - Part IV - Liquidation

The Spiral - Part V - The Board

The Spiral - Part VI - Crescendo Partners

The Spiral - Part VII - The Kitchen

The Spiral - Part VIII - Jet A

The Spiral - Part IX - Paulson

Labels: ,

posted by Lee Gale @ 9:27 PM, ,

TimeSvr - Part 3

Part 3 of the Virtual Assistant (VA) experience (click here for Part 1 and Part 2).

I decided to cancel my subscription to TimeSvr's beta inside the 3-day trial period. I had used an upcoming holiday to task them with finding me a hotel that suited my requirements (price, location, value for money, etc). Sadly, I spent more time setting up the task, error checking and reconfirming details than the output should have dictated. I ended up going with the hotel and rate I originally found myself online.

Perhaps my 'tasking' needs refinement to get the best out of this VA service - "it's not you, it's me". :-)

I think the issue is their business model is incompatible with my needs: they spend up to 30 minutes per day on your tasks, which I think drives a 'quick and nasty' approach to tasks rather than a quality/detailed approach.

I will be giving a similar task for our LA leg of the trip to Your Man In India which seem to have spun off their VA service as GetFriday.

Stay tuned.


posted by Lee Gale @ 10:04 PM, ,