The Hot Iron

A journal on business, technology and occasional diversions by Mike Maddaloni

Thrive

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Changed My Opinion On Moving

photo of moving boxesChange can often be a very good thing. But when that change comes with moving – moving yourself and all of your stuff can be a burden and sometimes unbearable. The idea of packing up all your things, moving them to a new place then unpacking them, figuring out what you want to keep, what you want to get rid of and then buying new things to supplement them that work better in the new place… it is something that once it is all over it is fulfilling but during the process itself it can be arduous.

As I have hinted here in some of my recent posts at The Hot Iron, my family recently moved. We are not too far from where we lived before, but still a significant distance and significant effort involved in the process. In the past, I used to say that traumatic experience of moving comes only second to the death of a family member. As extreme of thought that that is, it was something I always believed in. But with this last move my opinion has changed.

As I write this we have completed our move, but there are still a TON – and I mean a TON – of boxes to unpack and things to put away or get rid of. As much as I'm not looking forward to that whole process, I know that going through it all is going to be something that I'm going to enjoy because it will allow me to take a fresh look at things I haven't looked at in awful long time. You see, the last time that I move over 10 years ago so I've been in the same place for 10 years accumulating stuff along with the stuff that never unpacked from our last move. That is something that I'm hoping to change with this move where as we go through things, box by box, analyzing and determining what is the best course of action to do for these things. So far I've gotten rid of a lot of things and consolidated a lot of things and I'm enjoying actually the process of going through everything and trying to simplify my life.

This is a type a change I feel is good for me now and is something I am looking forward to. It will also be a big part of my goal to simplify my life this year. Now let's see how long it takes to unpack and get down to the very last box.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 09/11/14 at 08:29 PM
DiversionsThrive • (0) CommentsPermalink



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chicago Loop Loft Condo For Rent As Of September 1

photo of 5 North Wabash Avenue Suite 1204 Chicago Loop Loft Condo For Rent

Available September 1, 2014 is a unique loft-style, 1 bedroom and a den condo for rent in the Chicago Loop with a storage unit on the same floor. This rental features high ceilings, modern kitchen, bath, Elfa shelving system in both of the walk-in bedroom and front closets, washer/dryer in unit, and a 6x9 storage unit perfect for storing bikes.

This rental condo is located at the corner of Wabash & Madison, at "L" stop for Brown, Orange, Green and Pink lines and main stop for CTA buses, and is around the corner from Millennium Park and short walk to Lake, Museums, shopping, dining and services. Heat, cooking gas and basic TV are included, and the tenant plays electric. Discounted parking for extra available at Grant Park North garage under Millennium Park.

For more information and photos, visit the Web site for this Chicago Loop loft condo at FiveNorthWabash.com. To schedule a showing, contact Ryan Newberry L'Heureux.

photo of 5 North Wabash Avenue Suite 1204 Chicago Loop Loft Condo For Rent Web site


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 08/21/14 at 09:30 PM
AnnouncementsDiversionsThrive • (0) CommentsPermalink



Friday, August 15, 2014

What I Learned This Week For August 8 and 15 2014

photo of a flyer for an Urgent Divorce Auction

As the last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind for me, it’s only fitting I post them together, on a Friday no less and on time for the second week. Yes, on time!

  • This flyer that came in my mailbox piqued my interest. Not only is it a divorce auction – which means there is such a dispute among assets that they have to be sold this way – but it is an urgent one as well. Why urgent?
  • This past week I was formally elected to the board of directors of Barrel of Monkeys, a Chicago non-profit organization that teaches inner-city kids creative writing skills, then takes what they write and creates sketch comedy which is not only performed for the kids themselves but in a weekly show called, That’s Weird Grandma. It is an amazing organization and I am thrilled to be involved. How I got involved with them was through a LinkedIn search for local people who were interested in being on a board, which was only heightened by my good friend Linsey being one of the performing company members. You will be hearing more about BOM in future installments I promise you!
  • My word for 2 weeks ago was lodgment. I was asked if this word was appropriate in describing when a mobile app was available in the app store. I admit I guessed the etymology of it, but still looked it up. I recommended simply saying it was available. Apparently lodgment is the preferred term in Australia.
  • My word for this week was steganography. It is the concealment of a message within something else, or hiding something in plain sight. There are a lot of ways to do it, and it is a fascinating concept, and one which many of us – including myself – may have done at some point without even realizing it.
  • Now that I am no longer building eCommerce sites with the technology, Miva Merchant is holding their next MivaCon conference in Chicago in September. As I would once again choose Miva Merchant if I were to build an eCommerce site, and it’s like fifty dollars to attend, I may still go. It would be an opportunity to meet some of the people I have talked with over the years, and I am sure I could score some cool schwag in the process.
  • As I got a new work PC I had to once again lookup how to send a Word document as an email message body within Word.
  • I found out a friend is a Dad by a random comment he mentioned on his podcast. Granted we aren’t all that close, but it was nice to hear. Got a picture of the little bundle of joy, and am overdue in replying to him. Why didn’t I hear? As much as my friend is on social media, he didn’t want to do that to his kid without their permission… something I do as well.
  • The movie The Wizard of Oz premiered 75 years ago. It seems like only yesterday that the Munchkins were causing me nightmares as a child after watching it on a black and white TV no less.
  • Tried the new Sofritas vegetarian option at Chipotle this week in a burrito, and I will definitely get it the next time.
  • This week’s video is far from one I have learned in the past few weeks. It is a Sesame Street video about brushing your teeth featuring Elmo and several celebrities. Somehow we found this, and the song is long enough for them to fully brush their teeth as recommended by dentists. Sometimes it takes the start of the video to get the kids into the bathroom and loading up their brushes. Though not new to me, perhaps it is something you can learn for this week as well.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 08/15/14 at 10:44 PM
AnnouncementsBloggingDiversionsThrive • (0) CommentsPermalink



Thursday, August 07, 2014

What I Learned This Week For August 1 2014

photo of Neiman Marcus window in Chicago promoting pre-fall

Writing a catchy opening to the presentation of what really resonated with me over the last week isn’t always as rewarding as the things I learn, so this time I won’t dwell on it.

  • It’s one thing to accuse Hallmark or other greeting card makers of creating holidays to sell more cards, but I never thought retailers would go to the depths of segmenting seasons. Granted the cooler temperatures here in the Windy City may cause some to think about what to wear in a couple of months, but I am not one of them.
  • Feedback is a dish best served hot and fresh, right out of the over, and not several months later, as it sits on the counter, covered with something but allowed to rot and not satisfy anybody.
  • A while back ago I registered the domain name SayMyNameRight.com, with the idea of having a Web site where people could post videos of themselves saying their name. If I recall correctly, it was after having lunch with my good friend Tom Ordonez that the idea came to mind. If you click the link it’s clear I didn’t do anything with the domain name other than point it right back to this very blog. Yet for some reason over the past several weeks it has been getting a noticeable amount of traffic. Maybe now is the time to act?
  • I was reminded not everybody knows what a “hashtag” is.
  • Where the bidding wars over the potential mergers of “dollar” stores is going on, one thing piqued my attention, that the “activist investor” Carl Ichan was involved. Personally, I don’t get the guy. Granted, I am no student of finance or investment wiz, but is someone who buys a ton of stock in a company and tries to get them to merge really an activist, as in the same term that can be prefaced with the phrase “civil rights?”
  • Keeper Security, the Chicago-based app for secure password storage, just announced file storage. It is being pitched as a way to store images of a driver’s license or passport in case it is lost or stolen, or any other important personal files. As a current user I can get 5 free file uploads and then pay an annual fee from $10 a year and up, depending on the space used. I need to think about this, and where to best spend money on “cloud” services, or on my own server.
  • In my quest to try new restaurants I finally went to Protein Bar, a Chicago-based chain of healthy quick-serve food. And I have to say, upon my first visit I have become a fan. I was impressed with the store, the menu selections and most importantly the taste. The price is comparable to even Subway and other restaurants in the city. They also have locations in the Washington DC area and in Colorado.
  • For as many times as I have referred family, friends and complete strangers to get from point A to B with my friend Rashid, Chicago’s premier cabbie and expert on customer service, who goes by the trademarked name of ChicaGoCabbie™, for reasons that I don’t quite know for sure, I have never ridden in his cab. Granted, because of his work with cab-hailing service Hailo I am a loyal customer. Perhaps it is timing, I am not quite sure. But he has delivered both pizza and cupcakes to me in his chariot!
  • This past week Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester was traded to the Oakland A’s. For several weeks leading up to it, my sports mobile app was buzzing non-stop with alerts on rumors and speculation around the trade. It got so bad I almost turned off the alerts altogether. Unfortunately that is the business of sports today. When I was a kid, I had no idea what any of the players on the Red Sox made, nor did I care.
  • One of my favorite blogs is Brand New which features logo, design and branding, especially changes to brands. They recently featured a YouTube video interview of the creator of the Hartford Whalers logo. For those not familiar, the New England Whalers hockey team moved from Boston to the capital city of Connecticut in the 1970’s, then moved to North Carolina in the late 1990’s and became the Carolina Hurricanes. They played not too far from where I grew up, so I was familiar with the team and got to go to many games. Though the team is long gone, the defunct team’s logo is almost a cultural icon and is being worn by trendy celebrities. The interview on Hartford’s Channel 3 is embedded below or follow the link above to watch it. Note the mention about who really owns the logo, which is something that I wouldn’t be surprised would end up in court someday.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 08/07/14 at 10:20 PM
AnnouncementsBloggingBusinessDomain NamesSocial MediaThrive • (1) CommentsPermalink



Sunday, June 29, 2014

What I Learned This Week For June 27 2014

photo of a warning message on a waterski

With the Pandora Smooth Jazz channel playing, and though I am confused at some of the music they are classifying as “smooth jazz” I am nonetheless liking it as I collect my learnings for the week…

  • I learned 2 things along with the above photo. Presumably if you are putting on a water ski, it is probably too late at that point to read the warning fine print. Also, this modern ski was not sufficient for my lovely wife, as she strapped on wooden skis she used when she was a kid to be pulled behind a boat for the first time in at least a decade, and with great success – go you!
  • Sometimes, spontaneous fun has to be scheduled.
  • Facilitating the listening to the earlier-mentioned Pandora channel are my iHip Patriots lanyard headphones. I have had these for a while and am surprised I have never talked about them as I love them! Most of the cord is wrapped in lanyard material sporting the Pats logo, which means they don’t tangle just by looking at them. And for under ten dollars, they are a great deal. Where mine have the logo of the greatest NFL football team ever, they are offered in other team logos, including the local team the Chicago Bears.
  • Where I didn’t need headphones was last Monday when I saw Bob Mould perform at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. I have mentioned him and his original band Husker Du many times before, and this was the third time I saw him over the years. In short, he rocked, both in his new music, songs he has recorded as a solo artist over the years, and even a few songs from Husker Du days, including Hardly Getting Over It, Flip Your Wig and Makes No Sense at All.
  • Building on my original blog post on Managing Your Email Inbox To Zero from 5 years ago, a great way to get your inbox down is to sort by recipient – it’s a great way to clear out notifications, newsletters, junk mail and other spam. It is also a good way to action on a group of emails pretty quickly.
  • The Boston Market restaurant in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago closed abruptly on the June 15 and I found out about it when I went to take the family there for dinner, and we found out from the attendant at the free parking lot next to it that they shut down. As someone who had been to the original Boston Chicken before renamed and franchised, which itself closed years ago, it’s sad this decent meal option for the family becoming more scarce.
  • I am not a therapist nor do I play one on TV, but if I was a PhD and I wanted to prescribe certain medications I now could in Illinois, after taking over 2 years of additional education, based on a new psychologist prescription bill that has become law. Even in this hypothetical situation, to have a PhD then take more education, especially in this uncertain time in healthcare worldwide, I would rather refer them to a true MD who would buy me a beer for every referral. Again, in this hypothetical situation I would.
  • While the City of Chicago has been thrust into turmoil over the addition of the name TRUMP to the eponymous skyscraper and winning the future George Lucas museum, what has been hardly talked about is the installation of sensors to monitor, among other things, sounds and mobile device activity. They are due to be installed along Michigan Avenue and the Loop starting later this year. Of course they won’t look as ominous as they sound as they will be concealed with a decorative shield. As expected, they are being proclaimed not in the name of Big Brother and Big Data, but for our safety. Looks like I will be placing my phone in Chicago Mode (similar to airplane mode) as I walk around the city.
  • When you say you don’t know, chances are you probably do.
  • Version 7 of ownCloud is now in beta. The suite of tools which you can use – just as I do – to replace Google Docs, Calendar, Address Book and similar “cloud” services from others has been an invaluable tool for me, and I haven’t even yet installed version 6 yet, which is out and has been given high marks.
  • Where the next book from my good friend John J. Wall may not be coming out anytime soon, I have finally taken the first baby steps towards writing my own first book. Note the term baby steps, so don’t expect my book signing bus tour to commence anytime soon.
  • I ran across Musicless Music Videos almost by accident, where popular music videos are stripped of the music and you hear what could have been the sound when the video was shot. Below I have embedded the video for Dancing in the Streets by Mick Jagger and David Bowie with this treatment – follow the link if you can’t see the video below, and follow this link to the original video, including music.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 06/29/14 at 03:03 PM
AnnouncementsBusinessTechnologySocial MediaThrive • (1) CommentsPermalink



Monday, June 16, 2014

What I Learned This Week For June 13 2014

photo of the complete 1,004 Portrait sculpture at Millennium Park, Chicago

After waiting all total about 30 minutes for Windows 7 to patch itself, and a few other lame excuses for this being posted late…

  • The installation of the 1,004 Portraits at Chicago’s Millennium Park, which I mentioned in last week’s post, is complete. This is what it looks like at around 7:30 am Central time with the sun’s reflection off of buildings on Michigan Avenue.
  • Speaking of the last blog post here on The Hot Iron – it was my 750th post. After the last several years of not blogging much, it is good to hit a milestone like that.
  • Morrissey, who came to fame in the 80’s as the lead singer of The Smiths and since has had a prolific solo career, canceled the remaining dates on his US tour as he caught some form of virus in Miami, including tonite’s show. The fact that I had great seats for that show makes me sad, but I hope he gets better and books yet a third show in the city, which hopefully be the charm to see him here.
  • I did get my fix of 80’s music last Friday night as I “heard” Foreigner and Styx. They were performing at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, an outdoor ampitheatre that sits where the former Meigs Field airport was. If you look at this aerial map of the venue, you may see water around it. That water is Lake Michigan and Burnham Harbor, where boats are docked or do dock by it for concerts there, where they can hear them extremely clearly, and for free. I know as I was on a boat in the harbor singing along with Foreigner, who’s 45 rpm single “Urgent” was the first record I ever bought in the late 70’s. It was wicked awesome, and thanks to Kristy and Edi for having us aboard.
  • People are more inclined to give to a specific cause or item rather than just to a general fund. For example, ask people to contribute any amount to a charity, and you will not get the response like asking someone to donate to purchase a specific piece of equipment for a charity that has a fixed cost. It also works better if you repeatedly go back to those same people and ask for another specific item.
  • Just recently Hailo, my choice for taxi hailing app, added black car service. So rather than riding in a standard taxi cab, you can choose a black car – a leather-lined sedan or SUV or even a limo – for just a little more than the cost of a standard taxi. This new option is so easy to choose, and it could become addictive.
  • This past week I learned the terms information foraging and information scent. Though I had just learned these terms, I was very familiar with the concepts and have used them in Web design and content development for years. For those of you that are not technical, follow the link above and read the article and let me know if it makes sense to you, and if you have experienced this yourself.
  • I don’t need someone pimping out their new biography to make it “Ideas Week” – for me, every week is ideas week.
  • Upon catching up on podcasts this week, I got to listen to the 100th episode of The Voicemail. It is a weekly, around 30-minute podcast on mobile technology hosted by 2 very smart and witty guys, James Whatley and Stefan Constantinescu. If you are interested at all in the mobile device industry you must listen, and thank me later.
  • My good friend and colleague Tom Ordonez is launching Miami Startup School. Being billed as a “3-month bootcamp that teaches you the right way to create a business. Sales, marketing, legal, tech. Everything you need to do it the right “lean startup” way and stop wasting time and money” I am sure it will be a success for those who attend and for Tom. He is a serial entrepreneur and takes a no-nonsense approach to building thriving businesses.
  • I was amused by the story of how ad agency Cramer-Krasselt parted ways with Panera Bread. Where I personally don’t have an opinion either way about their advertising, they certainly need a creative touch in the presentation of their in-store menus. Most of the time when I am in there, only to buy a loaf of their fresh bread, I am behind people who can’t make heads or tails of their menu. With numerous colors and fonts, it is not a quick read by any stretch.
  • Though it originally aired over a year ago on national TV in the US, I was just made aware of this dialogue in the CBS-TV show “Mike and Molly” which interestingly takes place in Chicago. The exchange is between 2 older men, an Italian-American, and the other who is apparently a farmer or lives in a rural area. Their exchange is full of stereotypes, making references to life on the farm and being Italian. Where comments about an Italian man’s mother’s moustache is one thing, calling him a WOP is another. The term is a racial slur against Italians, and is clearly not an apples-for-apples comparison to the insults the Italian said to the farmer, yet it somehow cleared for broadcast? You can view the excerpt from the Mike and Molly episode on YouTube at this link and I have embedded it below. Where I usually end my weekly lessons learned on a high note with a video, this one is surely a low point. Seeing this only reinforces why I don’t have cable TV or an antenna.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 06/16/14 at 07:18 PM
AnnouncementsBusinessTechnologyMobile TechnologySocial MediaThrive • (0) CommentsPermalink



Saturday, May 31, 2014

What I Learned This Week For May 30 2014

photo of safety pins

Without further ado…

  • Over the last 5 plus months of using Dryv, the Chicago start-up who offers on-demand pickup and delivery of your dry cleaning and laundry, not only has my life been made a tad bit simpler, but I have amassed a collection of safety pins. The pins hold the tags on the garments and for some reason I have been saving them. I have yet to actually use one, yet I hold onto them. If anyone reading wants some (or all), feel free to contact me. Otherwise, the container will continue to fill. If you want to collect your own safety pins and save $20 off your first order, follow this link to Dryv, enter code 6H1A and request a pickup on the Web or your iPhone.
  • Tech media reports about a compromise of eBay logins surfaced almost a week before I received an email from eBay recommending I change my password. You would have thought some companies would have learned from other recent network breaches.
  • A primatologist is someone who studies apes and monkeys and wants to teach them to communicate with humans.
  • Over the weekend my lovely wife and I stayed at the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It was completely remodeled last year and it is an awesome hotel with great style and amenities. But I have to admit, when I saw the name “Best Western” I wasn’t immediately drawn to this hotel. It could easily be rebranded as a Marriott or Sheraton as it was on par or even ahead of some hotels with those brands I have stayed at. I wonder if others have thought the same?
  • The reason we stayed at that hotel in Oshkosh was that it was our 12th wedding anniversary. I still seem to be learning about not only keeping but thriving in our relationship on a daily basis, but it is lessons well learned!
  • I received an email from LinkedIn inviting me to their long form post program where essentially I can write and post full articles similar to what I post here at The Hot Iron. Where this will be an option made available eventually to everyone who uses LinkedIn, I will pass on it for now. There are 2 compelling reasons why I am not clamoring to post something there. The first is in the “rights and responsibilities” of the offering where it indicates I could have posts disabled or lose my LinkedIn account entirely based on what I write, if it is found to be to salesy or in violation of their user agreement. The second is the track record LinkedIn has of terminating services within its property, such as network activity RSS feeds, their Answers section and its acquired CardMunch apps and service. By sticking with my own platform I will retain full editorial control of my content as well as the continuous availability of it.
  • It is better to communicate bad news directly rather than let people hear about it indirectly.
  • When I saw all of the news on the self-driving cars from Google, all I could think of was the Johnny Cab, a robotic-controlled cab service from the movie Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The link is to a clip of the movie where the Johnny Cab is featured. It is not necessarily “safe” for work, and of course that always depends on where you work.
  • I’ve just started watching some of the videos from the Lumia Stories project, where 100 people, born every year over the last 100 years, gets a Nokia Lumia mobile device and records part of their personal story. The campaign was created by 1000heads, the amazing word-of-mouth agency I have had the pleasure to get to know over the years from my involvement with other work they did with Nokia. It has me thinking about recording more of my history and getting history from my family members. I do count what I write here as being part of that.
  • When changing my eBay password I reviewed my list of logins and passwords and saw one for “something” called BugMe. I didn’t recall it, and upon further review I still don’t know what it was, but now it is an app productivity tool for tracking tasks with virtual sticky notes. I started using it on my iPhone for both personal and work tasks and so far so good. I plan on using it for this week’s learnings tracking.
  • This past week Steve Perry, the former lead singer of the band Journey, performed a few songs from his former band during an encore after a performance by the band Eels in St. Paul, Minnesota. Apparently Perry and members of Eels have become good friends. What’s interesting is that Perry hasn’t performed on stage in over 20 years. As songs from Journey played over and over on the radio from the late 70’s to the 80’s to today, it was great to see and hear him perform. Though his hair is a little shorter today, he still has it with his unique singing voice. You can watch the video embedded below, or follow this link to watch it on YouTube.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 05/31/14 at 09:25 PM
AnnouncementsBloggingTechnologyMobile TechnologyThrive • (1) CommentsPermalink



Friday, May 23, 2014

What I Learned This Week For May 23 2014

photo of a Caronarita

I grabbed one of the last pieces of paper on one of those pads that has a magnet on the back and you stick on a refrigerator – before my kids got to it for their various art projects – to carry with me and log what I learned.

  • I had my first, and most likely my last, Coronarita. Pictures here, it is a margarita with a mini Carona Beer bottle, called a Caronita, inverted in it with a special plastic holder. I like margaritas, but not with beer in them.
  • When I was a kid, you never paid for anything at school except for lunch. You got all of your school supplies and went on field trips at no extra cost. Clearly that is not the case today, as I find myself sticking an envelope in my daughter’s backpack almost weekly with money in it. It would be great if I just paid a lump amount at the beginning of the school year for everything, and if it went under, then the school gets the balance. Like one of those Popeil “set it and forget it” ovens, or maybe that’s a bad analogy?
  • Comfort comes at a cost.
  • Speaking of comfort and cost, after I learned the previous statement, I got a glaring example with platinum passes for Lollapalooza, the massive 3-day concert in Chicago’s Grant Park this summer. The pass gives you everything from golf-cart rides around the grounds to air-conditioned bathrooms to food and drink, all for the bargain price of US$3,600.00. Nice to know, but I’ll take the grunge of Riot Fest over this any day.
  • I have never been a fan of the Dyson vacuum cleaner, and thought it was way too much to spend for such a tool. The Dyson hand dryers you find in public bathrooms are ok, but not everyone can bend their wrist that way. Now if Dyson wants to really have a coup, they should make a car vacuum cleaner that actually works. Now that is something I’d pay money for. Needless to say, I am on my third car vacuum in a year and I don’t see this one lasting either.
  • The authenticity of kids toys is amazing today, including something I took a double-take on at my kids daycare – a wooden toy Keurig machine.
  • Just as I finished ordering for my kids first visit to a Chipotle Mexican restaurant this past week for Taco Tuesday, and tried to articulate their choices to the antsy staff, one of the staff said, “we do have a kids menu.” Who knew? And why isn’t it on the sign anywhere?
  • Put to the test this past week was my new bike lights, which are LED and rechargeable with a USB adapter. The Blackburn Flea 2.0 Front Headlight and Rear Light Combo worked great as I got an evening bike ride in along Lake Michigan. Now if I weren’t one of the few people along the lake trail with lights it would even be more beneficial.
  • The blog post I wrote yesterday about the great service GiveBackBox was written with my voice, using the Siri function on my iPhone and the Notes app. I did it over the weekend during downtime, and for this first attempt it worked well. After I “wrote” it, I emailed it to myself, and edited it on my PC. It was a fairly straightforward story so it worked well. I have already started another post, which I am sure will need much more editing.
  • Though I still do not have a TV, I couldn’t not hear about the “drum-off” between Chad Smith, the drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and actor Will Farrell, which occurred last night on the Tonight Show. I’ve seen the Chili Peppers several times over the years, and once ran into Smith – literally – as I was coming out of the men’s room and he was walking in after their show at the University of Albany in 1990.Years later I met Farrell after he ran the Boston Marathon and I was a volunteer there, though this only involved a handshake and not almost being knocked over. The drum-off made for more than good TV – you can click the previous link to view it or the video is embedded below.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 05/23/14 at 09:57 PM
AnnouncementsBloggingThrive • (2) CommentsPermalink



Thursday, May 22, 2014

GiveBackBox Makes Giving Excess Easy

GiveBackBox home page

We are a society of stuff. We get new stuff and get rid of the old stuff. With home delivery, overnight shipping, Amazon Prime and other ways getting stuff is very easy. Getting rid of stuff is a different story, for either we put it out on the street, throw it away or put it in a bag and lug it to Goodwill or Salvation Army. With all these ways methods it takes a level of effort to do so, and isn’t always convenient. With GiveBackBox now there is a way of getting rid of things that is just as easy as getting them.

GiveBackBox, which launched last year, is a service where you can create a UPS shipping label to put on any box of things you want to get rid of. You simply go to their Web site at givebackbox.com, enter your email address and the UPS shipping label is presented to you as an image which you can print out and put onto a box. The label itself is a return shipment label so you don't have to weigh the box or enter its dimensions. Just fill a box, put the label on it and drop it off at UPS Store, Staples or give to any UPS driver. The label has the address of Goodwill in Indiana. There is no cost to generate a label for anyone.

I first heard about GiveBackBox on Twitter late last year. I thought the idea was brilliant and I had to try it out for myself. Originally you had to register and create an account to use this site but now they removed that and you can just enter your email address to get a label.

The service was started by Monica Weila who runs Style Up Girl, an eCommerce site that sells women’s shoes. On the GiveBackBox Web site it tells a story about how she saw a man on Michigan Avenue in Chicago who wanted a pair of shoes. As she didn’t have mens shoes, she got some and went back, but he was gone. This was the catalyst for what has become this service.

I have been using GiftBackBox for several months now and have sent over 10 boxes of stuff. Some boxes were bigger or smaller than others, but every time I was reusing a box that came from something I ordered online. Living in the city, I end up storing a bunch of stuff to give away and I really don’t have the space to do so. With GiveBackBox you can just send the things as you go. Granted larger items like baby gates and desks are nothing that you are going to box up, and those are things that I actually will bring to Goodwill or Salvation Army. But for the most part clothes or small items are perfect for the service. You can also get a receipt for your donation by going to the Goodwill Web site and filling out a donation form you can print it or save it as a PDF for your taxes.

I like a lot of things about GiveBackBox and I have recommended it to many people and I suggest you give it a try at givebackbox.com. Let me know what you think of the service and feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments to this post.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 05/22/14 at 08:33 PM
AnnouncementsBusinessThrive • (1) CommentsPermalink



Friday, May 16, 2014

What I Learned This Week For May 16 2014

photo of gravity tank with Swedish flag painted on it in Andersonville, Chicago

Not everything we learn in the course of a week is a life lesson or something which jumps out at you completely. But even though I never hear a lot of feedback or get a lot of comments on these posts, for me, it is a good way to end the week and look back.

  • The water gravity tank that was atop the Swedish American Museum in the Andersonville section of Chicago still exists. It now sits in a parking lot, as pictured above. Reports are it may cost upwards of US$200,000 to repair and replace, and a fundraising effort is underway. Perhaps there may be a cheaper way to restore the structure, and one which does not collect water, as when it was removed it was full of ice.
  • Prior to taking the picture of the gravity tank, I attended a performance of Barrel of Monkeys. They are a group of teachers and performers who work with public school students and teach them about creative writing, then stories are selected and a sketch is created by the actors. I know I did not do this description justice, so visit their Web site and look for when their next performance is, and thank me later.
  • Donald Sterling, the owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, was born in Chicago, and lived here until he was 2 years old.
  • I got a new work PC this week, and it has a touch screen and is running Windows 8.1. I really didn’t need a new computer, but the lease was up on my “old” Windows 7 PC, which I really liked. I have only used the basics of touch on it, as my big hands don’t work well with the small text in menus, etc. Looking forward to trying out new apps designed for Windows 8.1, and in the meantime I will use it just like I did my Windows 7 PC.
  • The NFL’s New England Patriots have created a jersey guarantee offers someone who purchased a jersey for a player, and then if that player is no longer under contract with the team, a 25% discount on a new jersey. This is of course built upon the team’s previously successful exchange program for the jersey of Aaron Hernandez, which I feel is even more genius on the part of the Patriots, especially with the cost of jerseys today.
  • Tickets went on sale and the line-up of bands was announced for Riot Fest, a 3-day outdoor concert in Chicago, as well as Denver and Toronto, which encompasses many stages with bands and acts performing simultaneously, not to mention a carnival and midway of rides. Of all the bands performing, include The Cure, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Social Distortion (a few of my favorite bands from the 80’s), is Jane’s Addiction. What’s interesting about them is their lead singer, Perry Farrell, is the creator and still involved in another similar and larger concert in Chicago, Lollapalooza. I’ll be at the Chicago shows at Humboldt Park on September 12-14, will you?
  • This past week I got an off email from photo-sharing service Shutterfly that was a little odd. I rarely use the service, and the message seemed to be in response to the fact that I was pregnant, which despite wild rumors is the furthest from the truth. I then got another email from them, with an apology from their Chief Marketing Officer John Boris saying they were “truly sorry” for the email. When I got the email, I tweeted about it and got a few snarky comments from friends, and that was it. But as the topic of pregnancy can be extremely sensitive, I am sure it pissed someone off.
  • Workers began installing the letters “TRUMP” on the Trump Hotel and Towers in Chicago. The 20-foot high letters will be facing the Chicago River side of the tower, which means when I walk out my front door every morning I will see them. So far they have the letter “T” installed and had it lit up at night. Where it may appear a little tacky, I am in favor of any building having branding on it, as that brand is the reason why the building is there – or in other words, they built it.
  • There have been a lot of attacks on human resource departments in technology publications, which has resulted in very defensive responses from the HR community. I think one thing that some people who are not in favor of HR departments, namely employees, fail to remember is that at the end of the day, the HR department serves the company, not the employee.
  • May 15 is Fluevog Day, where large discounts and events occur at John Fluevog shoe stores around the world. I learned that it is also the birthday of the eponymous owner. I only own 2 pairs of shoes and they are both Fluevogs – the Will and Bodden styles. At 5:15 pm local time in each store, a “class photo” is taken of staff and customers, and it will be sent to each person pictured, personally autographed by John himself. Where these activities may seem unusual, they are in-line with the social outreach and great attitude of the brand over the decades, even long before social media was on the scene.
  • In an interview in Time magazine, actor Colin Firth discussed speaking Italian and used Italian swears. As someone who is Italian-American, and sadly does not speak Italian, I of course know some of those swears he spoke of, and more that he didn’t. Firth’s wife is Italian and she taught him, which I think is awesome. You can see the video embedded below or click the article link above to watch it.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


Did you enjoy this? Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML feed or Read by Email.

Subscribe to The Hot Iron by RSS/XML Feed  Subscribe to The Hot Iron by Email



Posted by Mike Maddaloni on 05/16/14 at 12:05 AM
AnnouncementsBloggingBusinessTechnologySocial MediaStrategizeThrive • (2) CommentsPermalink



Page 1 of 10 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

 

 

About The Hot Iron

photo of Mike Maddaloni

The Hot Iron strives to present unique content and perspective on business, technology and other topics by Mike Maddaloni, a Web and business strategist based in Chicago.

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Subscribe to odiogo
Text to Podcast

Listen to a podcast of The Hot Iron from odiogo

Search


Advanced Search

Most Recent Entries

Categories

Blogs I Read

Notable Links

Follow @TheHotIron on
Follow @TheHotIron on Twitter

Be an organ and tissue donor

Crafted in Chicago