Monday, April 27, 2009

April Summery

A week ago I was sitting in a barn in Califon, NJ learning the whats and wherefores about solar electricity. It was cold.

It's a barn, after all and although the building had solar panels on the roof and lights to read by, one still had to use a port-a-john for his business and rub his hands vigorously together for heat.

Today, on the verge of May, temperatures push past 90 for the third day straight. The phones at Runnemede Plumbing Heating Cooling & Electric ring nonstop. Lots of people are finding that their air conditioner doesn't work. Others want to schedule a maintenance visit before 'summer' arrives.

But a Nogginhaus has not a care. It already knew weeks ago that the air conditioner needed attention. So it scheduled the repair visit and had it fixed before the homeowner even realized that there was problem.

He went about his work and enjoyed life while his thinking house took care of itself.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Social Media on Steroids

The success of online networking sites is intriguing to me. Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo; I've joined them all and encouraged my friends and family to do the same.

But I think the process is clumsier than it needs to be.

Let's say you meet someone interesting at a business meeting. You have a good, spirited conversation and exchange business cards. When you get back from your trip, you decide to look your new friend up in Facebook. You send an invite.

Now maybe he'll remember you. Maybe he won't. Maybe he'll accept your invitation. Maybe not.

The fact that you stood together, had a conversation and exchanged business cards is all useful data. Maybe someday soon your networking sites will know instantly who you met, how you interacted and the likelyhood that you'll meet again in the future.

Perhaps you'll be able to simply logon to your Facebook account and you'll see that you are already 'Friends'

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pinball Inflation

The family spent the day at Arnold's Family Fun Center in Oaks, PA. My son, Hunter, turned 4 this week and he has been wanting to go gokart racing since last fall.

That reminds me; Full Tilt Racing provided a great day of gokart racing for our company (Runnemede Plumbing Heating Cooling & Electric) last fall.
Here's the video:

Anyhow, this post isn't about gokart racing. Rather, it is about pinball and inflation.

Huh? Well, at Arnold's, they have a section full of pinball machines new and old. I began by playing the newer machines and gradually made my way to the older ones.

I must say, I enjoyed the old ones the most. They were noticably old and from the 1960s or 1970s. I enjoyed them for a few reasons:

- The new machines were very complicated. There was so much going on; lots of lights, targets, tunnels, flippers, holes. All kinds of stuff. They were fun, but a bit overwhelming. On the other hand, the old machines were beautiful in their simplicity. Two flippers, not four or six. Very simple layouts so you actually knew what you were supposed to try to accomplish.

- The new machines had very elaborate sound systems as well. There was Baywatch, The Simpsons, The Sopranos - all with the requisite theme songs and sound effects. The old machines though, what a wonderful cacophony of clacks, pings and bells. Playing those old machines felt like playing an old instrument - you had an idea of what it should sound like, but were pleasantly amused once you started playing.

- Lastly, I couldn't help but notice the point inflation. It was nothing to score in the millions of points in the newer machines. But in the old machines, scores were only in the tens of thousands.

So just like the price of bread and milk and gas and virtually everything in the
1960s, the 'same thing' is much, much more costly today.

In 40 years will our kid's look back at 1,000,000 and wax nostalgic at what such a small sum could buy? Most definitely, if our government has anything to say about it.