My Guest Post On The CorporateStays.com Blog

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 06:51 AM with 1 comments

CorporateStays.com logo

I was recently invited to write a guest post on the blog for CorporateStays.com, a service which matches luxury accommodations for travelers in select cities in the world like Montreal, Miami and Panama City. Digging into my experience with travel, I decided to write about tips for traveling in the winter months. My post, Travel Tips for Travelling to a Wintery Destination, is now live.

Where my typical writing is about business and technology, I file this under the “occasional diversion” I refer to in the description of The Hot Iron. The more I write, the more these come to mind, and the more these may be available to read by you and others.

Thanks to my good friend CT Moore and the staff at CorporateStays.com for the opportunity to write this.


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


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Celebrating Christmas 2014 In A Traditional and Non-Traditional Way

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, December 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM with 0 comments

photo of my nativity scene

To all of my family, friends and readers who celebrate the holiday, Merry Christmas! To everyone else, have a great Thursday!

As the origin of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, I share the above picture of my nativity scene. This was a gift from my Mom many years ago, as she gave myself and my sister identical nativities. I am proud to share it with my little ones.

So that is the traditional celebration of Christmas. Now for the non-traditional way.

I ran across this video the other day and I was speechless. It is a Star Wars Christmas special that aired on TV back in 1978. You can read the full story about it here if you’d like, or you can just view the show embedded below or by following this link to Vimeo.

Though I was a young lad back in 1978, I don’t remember this show that aired only once. After watching it – ok, even reading the premise of it – that is probably a good thing. If you are a die-hard Star Wars fan or just a casual one, you will find this amusing to say the least.

If you like it, then consider it my gift to you. If you don’t, then we can just forget about it.


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


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What I Learned From Writing What I Learned This Past Year

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, November 17, 2014 at 12:15 AM with 3 comments

photo of the last page of The Giving Tree

Earlier this year I decided to write weekly posts here at The Hot Iron about what I learned over the past 7 days. Over 8 months I wrote 32 posts sharing numerous things that I learned. I wrote the last one on August 29, 2014, which will be my last in this series.

Fun for me while it lasted

The catalyst for this topic thread was simple - I had too many things I learned and/or wanted to write about but not enough time to write the posts. As much as I would like to simply “bang out” my thoughts on the keyboard, for me the writing process is more elaborate than that, from the thought on the topic to writing, to editing, to an accompanying photo… it takes me time. That being said, writing is something I enjoy and is a great creative outlet for me.

Writing posts that were more of a collection of nuggets of information was a good idea at first and something that interested me. I was also hoping to write single-topic pieces as well. Over time though the thrill waned and then it got to where I was not writing one every week, then the most recent gap of a couple of months. As for those single-topic pieces, they were few and far between.

Back to where it began

I've decided to retire this thread and return to writing as I gave before - posts on single topics on business and technology and other occasional diversions. For those of you who are my loyal readers I thank you and I hope that you'll enjoy this change as well. As always, I will never fully promise any number of posts, but am hoping to at least write one a week.

Still learning

As I still get disappointed when a day goes by when I don't learn something, I am still logging those thoughts and will be sharing them on my Twitter account – you can follow me there at @thehotiron. Of course there may be more diversions than in the blog itself, as well as more conversations and other thoughts but I still share all the business and tech news with my unbiased opinion as much as possible.

I hope you won’t miss my “learned” posts – or will you? Please let me know either way in the comments to this post.


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


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Top 10 Reasons Why Fall Is The Best Season

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, September 26, 2014 at 08:21 PM with 0 comments

photo of fall trees in Glen Mills, PA

Happy Fall! Or at least the first weekend of it.

Fall, also known as Autumn, is my favorite season. Why? Here’s my top 10 reasons.

10. Summer is wicked overrated. There is too much pressure to have your fun and vacation in the summer, when there is just as much to and plenty of time to do it in the fall.

9. Everything is cheaper in the fall, from hotel rooms to gas, as demand is higher in the summer due to the reason above. For what it would cost you to do what you do in the summer, you can do more – and more of it – for less in the fall.

8. It’s a lot cooler in the fall than in the summer. Walking from your front door to the car won’t cause you to sweat profusely. It’s a great season to get outside and have a nice cool breeze going for you.

7. Fall colors are amazing. Growing up in New England, for me a short drive to the shopping mall gave me an amazing view of some of the best foliage in the world. Not to forget the fall colors you wear are equally striking.

6. Crunching leaves make for a great sound.

5. Fall is all about heartier foods. The meats and vegetables, and the soups and stews and meals they make, warm on the inside and are a great compliment to the weather. Fall even has its own fruit, the pumpkin (yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable).

4. Halloween comes at almost the halfway point of the fall, and is a great celebration of fun and mischief for people of all ages. Plus the annual visit to the pumpkin farm prepares you for the night of bewitching.

3. Fall is when you go back to school. Where some kids like that and others don’t, most parents agree and like it.

2. When you change your clocks at the end of Daylight Savings Time in the fall, you get back that hour you lost in the spring.

1. It’s football season – the American kind! From playgrounds to the pros and everywhere in between, it’s the time to cheer for your gridiron champions, not to mention the tailgating parties that go along with it.

It was somewhat tough to choose what order to put some of these in, as they all contribute greatly to my favorite time of the year.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree on my favorite season? Or do you have other reasons to love fall? Please share your thoughts in the comments to this post,


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


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Changed My Opinion On Moving

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 08:29 PM with 0 comments

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.


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Chicago Loop Loft Condo For Rent As Of September 1

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 09:30 PM with 0 comments

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.


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What I Learned This Week For August 8 and 15 2014

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, August 15, 2014 at 10:44 PM with 0 comments

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.


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What I Learned This Week For July 4 2014

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, July 09, 2014 at 10:51 PM with 0 comments

photo of Independence Day color guard in Munster Indiana

With the sound of sirens wailing in the background on this late evening in downtown Chicago, as I go thru my notes and tweets of the holiday week of previous, I don’t have as much noted, but here goes…

  • Once again I reinforced my love of small town US Independence Day celebrations, as my family and I spent the holiday in Munster, Indiana. From fireworks the night before to a bicycle parade for kids the next morning, it was great to be around great friends and great conversation, much of it around our country today.
  • Speaking of fireworks, where we saw the official city-sponsored fireworks, we saw probably 10 times as many displays put on by individuals, as fireworks sales in Indiana are legal. Some of what we saw came close to rivaling anything I have seen launched in big cities as well. That Krazy Kaplan is not so crazy after all.
  • I now have a better understanding why the term “PTO”, for paid time-off, is used instead of the traditional term “vacation.”
  • Where you can learn how to do just about anything online these days, formally or informally, learning from others provides the needed context and paints the complete picture of something.
  • After gaining bits and pieces of his latest idea, I was pleased to see my friend and fellow Chicagoan Len Kendall launch a Kickstarter for Cartegram, an adventure game that involves tagging – literally and online – sites as you travel and logging them in a paper notebook as well as online. I am looking forward to the formal launch of this simple yet elegant idea, and as of the writing of this post there is still time to get in on the fun!
  • In a previous post I had mentioned about Chicago’s app for paying for on-street parking, ParkChicago. I finally got the opportunity to use it one day and it came in extremely handy, as I was parking during a torrential downpour and never had to get out of my car to go to the meter box and buy a ticket. The app user experience is very nice as well. Where parking on the mean streets of Chicago is certainly not cheap, it is a little more convenient.
  • In my ever quest to simplify my life, I have found merely finishing something goes along way to achieving this simplicity.
  • Over the winter I was asked to give a video testimonial on my daughters’ daycare center. Last week I learned part of what I said was selected for the video, which you can watch embedded below or watch on YouTube directly. After watching it over and over and over several times, I wished I was smiling more, but overall I think I did a very good job. I’d love to hear what you think about it, and feel free to send them in the comments section of this post.


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


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What I Learned This Week For June 6 2014

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 09:55 PM with 3 comments

photo of the base of 1,004 Portraits sculpture at Millennium Park, Chicago

Processing the virtual sticky notes in my BugMe app on my iPhone that I accumulated with what I learned, here they are…

  • So what is that pictured above? It is a large toilet? Or a statue of Jay Leno’s chin? No, it is the start of one of the 4 new sculptures as part of the 1,004 Portraits installation at Chicago’s Millennium Park. The artist who created the Crown Fountain is behind this, as this sculpture and 3 others in a more inconspicuous location are extensions of the original 1,000 portraits that are illuminated on the glass block towers that is the hottest attraction on summer’s hottest days. This giant head will be looking at me for the next year and a half.
  • Speaking of the Crown Fountain, they finally aligned the video with the spitting water, so the water looks like it is coming out of the people’s mouths, rather than their lip or moustache as it has been for the last couple of years.
  • Like many of you, I have been wondering what Goldie Hawn has been up to the last few years. It turns out she has a foundation, appropriately called The Hawn Foundation, which aims to create programs to help kids learn and grow emotionally stable, all without pharmaceuticals. I haven’t looked into this fully, but I have been following them on Twitter as their goal sounds noble.
  • screen shot of the BugMe appThank you Chicago Blackhawks for another hard-fought exciting season of hockey. Watching you lose in overtime in the final leading to the Stanley Cup was heartbreaking, but you made it interesting leading up to it.
  • The Caribou Coffee shop at 20 Michigan Avenue in Chicago is closing on June 15. Right next door to it is a Starbucks, and next to that a Panera Bread and around the corner from it is another Starbucks. Going the other way is a Caffe Baci where you can get coffee, a Walgreen’s where you can get anything to drink, then next to it a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts, and next to it Toni Patisserie where you can get coffee too. Oh, and around the corner is the Pittsfield Café, which serves a great inexpensive breakfast and, you guessed it, coffee.
  • Though I will still be drinking coffee, my warm weather drink has become the margarita – on the rocks with no salt.
  • I received an email that the Box Tops Marketplace, where you could earn virtual Box Tops for Education for your favorite school by simply clicking on a store link, is closing as of July 31. With the simplicity of earning points which are essentially affiliate referrals, I am surprised it has been around this long.
  • Good luck Jen on your new adventure! We will miss you, and I am sure you will miss us when you’re cashing in all of those frequent flyer miles and sitting in first class.
  • When I took my daughter on a play date with her friend to a Chicago White Sox game, her first large sporting event, I was a little sad when I found out the tickets were virtual, a QR code to be scanned from the TicketMaster app. But low and behold, upon scanning them the ticket agent printed an “MLB Fan Pass” which is essence a ticket stub. So now she has something for her scrap book.
  • This past week baseball journeyman Don Zimmer died too young at 83 after serving three score and 6 years in the game he loved. I will always remember him as manager of the Boston Red Sox when I was growing up, and with all of the other teams he played or coached for, many people will have their own memories of him. One thing I learned about him was he was the catalyst for baseball introducing batting helmets.
  • Is it just me or am I the only person trying to do enterprise mobile app adoption, marketing and promotion?
  • Something happened this week when trying to rearrange my work schedule and I said out loud, “great googly moogly” and thought of the infamous Snickers commercial. I have embedded it below or click the above link to watch it on YouTube, and tell me in the comments ot this post if we should try to bring back that phrase!


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


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What I Learned This Week For May 9 2014

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 08:21 AM with 0 comments

photo of a what I learned written on a withdrawal slip

With ATMs that accept cash and check deposits without an envelope and mobile apps which take a picture of a check to deposit, the end of the deposit slip, along with its sibling the withdrawal slip, is coming soon. Fortunately the back of these are blank and a withdrawal slip made for a nice way to track what I learned throughout the week.

  • I finally “tuned” into Double J, the new all-digital radio station launched in Australia and the sibling of Triple J, Down Under’s nationwide terrestrial and digital alternative music radio station. I have only listened once but liked its eclectic mix and hope to tune in more.
  • When my family traveled out to Eau Claire, Wisconsin last week for my wife’s Aunt’s funeral, we learned about JAMF Software, a company who makes enterprise management software for Apple computers and devices. For those who don’t know what enterprise management software is, it basically makes it easy to keep track of a bunch of computers. The company, which started in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is moving “back” to the hometown of the founder in Eau Claire, and making quite a splash in its new headquarters and even buying an old hotel and making it into a boutique hotel. A friend who lives there is a teacher and had the founder as a student, and she is proud of his accomplishment. As for what JAMF stands for, see it here, but note there are some asterisks and other symbols making the works safe for work!
  • Where one Eau Claire hotel is making a comeback, another declined and is now gone, and we were wondering why it wasn’t coming up as having occupancy for when we were there.
  • Where some hotels in Wisconsin come and others go, yet another lingers on. Along I-94 in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, across the highway from an outlet mall is an odd looking place called the Gobbler. It is the restaurant of what was a futuristic hotel built back over 50 years ago. Where the hotel portion is now gone, the abandoned restaurant remains. The link above has some decent pictures and all you need to do is search on the Gobbler for more stories about this unique landmark.
  • The Spanish word for panties is “calzones” and I will never think of the Italian food the same way again.
  • It appears the OtterBox Armor line of mobile device cases has been discontinued by the manufacturer. I got a hint to it over the holidays when I saw the cases for around US$25, about a quarter of their original sale price. The idea behind the Armor line was you could drop the phone on a hard surface or in the water and no damage. Granted the case doubled the thickness and weight of the mobile device. But when my 3-year old launches my iPhone across the room, I am rest-assured I can still pick it up and play Angry Birds.
  • I bought some Dasani Sparking water in cans this week. The Dasani brand is owned by Coca-Cola, and this appears to be the first “national” seltzer brand, as many are regional such as La Croix and Polar, the latter which is my longtime favorite from central Massachusetts. One thing I noticed on the can of Dasani Sparkling with lemon flavor is that it contains natural flavoring with zero calories like other brands, but it also contains 25 mg of sodium, where other brands are sodium free. Not sure what Coke put in the formula that needs to contain salt, but others seem to be able to flavor it without it.
  • The hammer finally fell on CardMunch as its owner LinkedIn finally announced it was shutting down the business card scanning app and service. CardMunch has had issues for a long time yet LinkedIn has been surprisingly mum and slow to respond to the outcry for what was a decent service. They are partnering with Evernote to offer a similar service, but I have already moved on with CamCard.
  • When you notice a change in the email name from “Tech Support” to “Customer Service” be expecting a dumb-downed level of support, as I have sorely noticed from one vendor of mine.
  • Whenever I checkout from a Walgreen’s store I see flashed on the pay station a screen where I can press a button to get my receipt emailed to me. As my cat-like reflexes have waned in recent years, I have not been able to catch the split-second display of the option. However the other day luck came my way and I was able to press it in time, and did get my receipt emailed to me. I am not sure why it works that way, but I am not going to raise it with the drugstore behemoth – every time I raise an issue with them on social media, namely Twitter, they tell me they created a ticket for me, but then never respond and whenever I follow-up with them, they never respond.
  • As I have been remiss in writing about my favorite self-cloud service ownCloud, I thought I would share this great video they recently released and I finally watched this week. It’s from their commercial side, but ownCloud is an open-source, free application. It is just over a minute and explains well part of the power of this self-hosted service. View it embedded below or view the ownCloud video on Vimeo.


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


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