It took me a lot of time to find/recognize this answer. I kept getting a no method error for Searchable when I had the Searchable block in my Engine’s model code. I put it there because that seems to be how Sunspot tells you to do it. But it won’t work on an Engine’s model (or on any other Gem’s model for all I know) since the model is not within the app.

The solution was to put the Searchable block in an initializer in my main app’s config directory.

For example:

# config/initializers/sunspot.rb

EngineName::ModelName.class_eval do
  searchable do
    text:name
    blah blah blah
  end
end

 

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Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Yahoo vs. Google Site Performance Infographic

Facebook and Twitter are crushing Yahoo and Google on site performance – Click to see full image

Did some quick competitive analysis using Quicksprout.com. Based on this Google and Yahoo need some significant improvements to site performance.

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Librivox Needs Your Help

Librivox.org has produced over 7,000 free audio books which have been downloaded over 100 million times. All of this produced by volunteers on a show string. The organization counts some 40,000 registered volunteers who produce audio versions of books that are in the public domain. Some of these productions are really excellent.

It is a valuable resource to everyone who enjoys listening to books and learning how to product audiobooks.

It takes a lot of infrastructure to keep an organization like this up and running. They don’t often ask for help or for donations, but right now they are. They have a target of $50,000. And they need your help to make it happen.

Like you, I enjoy podcasts and I know I have enjoyed free audio all over the internet and this is one of the real treasures. If you want to take a listen to one of their audiobooks, here is a podcast version of Tom Sawyer audiobook produced by LibriVox.

Please donate whatever you can.  Here’s a link to the donation page.

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Our country is broken.  We have been lurching from one bad president to another, from one war to another and from crisis to crisis.  Our government spending is out of control and so many people are out of work that tax revenues are in the tank.

Our country has huge negative momentum and that’s bad for America and the American spirit.

We had the crash of 2008 driven by a failure of government to properly oversee the housing market and a failure of regulators in preventing speculators from creating a hugely leveraged, virtual debt pool that nuked companies and markets right and left.

Jobs  disappeared all around us as companies scrambled to cut costs.  Bush and Obama bailed out the banks, the big car companies and their unions, while doing nothing for Main Street.

In Washington, the Democrats raised spending like crazy and became obsessed with passing a health care law that is one of the worst pieces of legislation ever.

People got angry, got organized and sent the Tea Party to Washington with a single mission of getting our budget back under control by cutting the ridiculous spending spree.

From there, we’ve had a continuous fight over cutting spending that has paralyzed the country and the government on a number of occasions.  A fight that has yielded just tiny spending cuts that are real. All the big numbers are BS fake cuts from some imaginary future budget.

This past Friday the nation was dissed by S&P when they downgraded the US debt rating from AAA to AA+.  They did this despite the fact that they have countries with even worse debt problems, like France, rated AAA .

I found it both sad and amusing that  Sen.John Kerry declared that this was a Tea Bag Downgrade.  What a jerk.  Even though I voted from him instead of Bush, I never liked the guy.  The Tea Party folks didn’t create this problem, it’s lifers like Kerry that created this problem.

And to top things off,  Alan Greenspan, former head of the Federal Reserve, was asked if T bills are still safe and he responded “Yes, we can always print more money.”

Somehow, this has got to change.  Our government leaders are stuck in a mind set of no compromises and blaming the other guy.  Our business community has frozen up due to all the uncertainty about what’s going to happen next.  Our national attitude is one of doom, gloom and the pain of austerity.

We, the people, elected the 536 people who run our national government. They created this mess with their decisions. If our debt is too high, its because they decided to make it too high.  If our spending is out of control, they decided to spend way too much. If  our tax system is all screwed up, it’s because they decided to screw it up.  Everything comes down to their decisions.

These 536 people are also the only ones who can make the decisions needed to get us out of this mess.  From my perspective, each and everyone of these people should be forced to tell us their plan to fix things or to stand up and be counted for someone’s plan.  Whether you like it or not the House Republicans came up with a plan and stood behind it.  The Senate Republicans should do the same.  The Democrats should do the same.  And most of all the President should have some plan that is more than just talking points about shared sacrifice.

Personally, I don’t want more sacrifice, I want it to feel like it’s  “morning in America again”.  And I think that’s doable.

My plan would be simple:

  1. Make growing our GDP is the top priority to create jobs and enable us to enjoy the privileges of this country. To do this I would focus on 2 policies:
    • Figure out a way to eliminate the tax on jobs.  It makes no sense to tax jobs here at home, when companies can outsource and not pay the tax. It’s simply a bad tax that kills jobs and we should get rid of it.  The temporary reduction in payroll tax rates is a start, but the whole tax should go permanently.  It should be in the constitution:  Government  should not tax people or companies for providing jobs.
    • Eliminate the capital gains tax on the first $5 million in gains from the sale of a small company.  IMHO this would do more than anything else to spur investment in small business.
  2. Set spending and revenue targets at 18-20% of the GDP, and everyone should sign a pledge that compromise that gets to that range is the right thing to do for America.  To do this I would:
    • Reform the personal and corporate  income tax system to fewer, lower tax brackets with few or no deductions
    • Put all spending is on the table and force it fit within the 18-20% range within 5 years.  If we want more health care, we have to spend less on defense and vice-versa.
  3. Put the country on a path to positive momentum.    Start making changes in a positive direction.  Start small and keep making decisions that make things better.  Rinse and repeat until we turn this nation of around.

From my perspective, if your  Congressional, Senate or Presidential candidate can’t come up with this plan or something else that fixes the mess they created, then they don’t deserve your vote.  They certainly aren’t getting mine.

BTW.  If anyone else has a better plan, I’d love to hear it.

 

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Why is it that doing the thing that matters most can be the hardest thing to do?

I see this people struggle with this frequently. I’m sure the reasons are many, but it always seems to boil down to fear. Fear that it might not work out the way we want, or perhaps fear that we won’t be successful at what we’ve chosen to do.

And the Resistance Monster seems to know this all to well. We get presented with endless distractions that are much easier to do than doing the work that matters most, the work that delivers the important results. As a result, it’s incredibly easy to confuse activity with progress. Doing the easy things is activity, doing the the hard things that matter is how we make progress.

At the end of the day, we know whether we did the work that mattered or we did the things that were easy, but may not matter. A day pursuing what matters leaves us feeling like we are really getting something done, and a day doing the easy things feels like a busy day of wasted effort.

So, every day we must battle to do what matters most and not what’s easy to do. It takes heart, stamina and perseverance to stay on the tasks that matter and to do the things that need to be done to reach our goals.

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Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Happy New Year. No matter what we wish you all the best this holiday season.

Be good, be grateful and most of all be save.

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Doing Everything Or The One, Important Thing?

Every day we get asked to do more. Our email is bursting with things to do, the phone keeps buzzing with news of another thing added to the list and that’s all on top of what we are already working on. The result is an attempt to rise up to the challenge of doing everything. Tools and productivity methods for trying to cope with doing everything seem to abound. To do lists, one touch methods, the concept of Inbox Zero and others all expect that everything will be dealt with. Either do it, calendar it, file it or delete it seems to be the approach for doing everything. But in the process of trying to do everything, do we lose focus on the things that really matter?

Another approach is to do one thing, and ignore the rest. There is surely an argument that focusing our time, our energy and our resources on a single most important thing will deliver a bigger, better result. After all, spending time on the right tasks is one of the secrets to effectiveness.

And at the end of the day, what really matters – getting everything done or getting the right thing done?

Every day we all get 24 hours to choose. Do you choose to do everything, or do you choose to do the one important thing really well?

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Amazon Kindle Fire HD Review

Kindle Fire HD

Kindle Fire HD

This is a podcast review of the Amazon Kindle HD 7inch model which goes for $199 at Amazon.com. This is the base model HD edition with 16 GB memory and Wi-Fi.

The old Kindle’s screen broke, and this was what seemed like the next best thing to buy as a replacement.
This was a replacement for a Kindle that with a broken screen. The Kindle Fire HD promised a lot of extra functionality in addition to being able to use the old Kindle functionality.

Let me start by saying, that overall we are very pleased with the device, especially for the price. And for anybody looking for a device in the 7 inch tablet size then this would be a good choice for most people.

The screen resolution is quite good and it presents a great looking picture. The weight and size of the device seem just about right and the device feels good to the touch. It does seem a bit more delicate than the original Kindle, but that might just be the glass screen. Given that we broke the Kindle’s screen, both devices need to be protected if used on a regular basis.

We really like the integration with the Amazon media offerings. We got immediate access to our Kindle archive and could now access all the Amazon prime content too, and that is one of the really important upgrades in functionality from the old Kindle. Being able to watch video and surf the web with ease is really nice.

The audio and speakers are real plus as well. I’s a significant upgrade from what we had on the old Kindle and that makes it very a useful device for listening to either audio books or to listen to music.

The other great thing is the calendar and contacts functionality as well as the ability to sync with Gmail. The device also is email capable, which really upgrades the usefulness of the device from a basic e-reader.

In short, there’s a lot to like about the Kindle Fire HD.

On the negative side, it starts out with a bad first impression. The package does not include a power adaptor which meant we had to dig out the old Kindle’s adaptor to get the thing charged. It also means that our all black Kindle Fire is plugged into a white charger, which is ok, but not elegant.

The second initial impression issue is how to turn the device on. It’s not easy to figure out, but after a quick Google search I found a button on the right side (in landscape mode) that is pretty much invisible, but does turn it on. It’s also a bit hard to find quickly, which may be a bit of an annoyance going forward.

The other thing I don’t like is the lag in going from the horizontal to landscape views. The switch is too slow which is really noticeable and impacts usability somewhat.

While the UI is much better than my Android’s UI, it is not exactly intuitive. You have to be willing to touch the screen and experiment to find out where controls are. I think this is something you will get used too, but it would be nice if it were simpler.

The battery life is ok, but nothing like the original Kindle which was like the energizer bunny. It seemed to last forever. This battery is satisfactory and really ok if you are near a power source regularly.

The e-reader is good, but I don’t like it quite as much as the screen on my old Kindle. You have a choice of white, sepia or black backgrounds. I’m not yet sure if I will use the white or the sepia backgrounds, but will keep on testing to find which I like better.

Overall, I have to say I recommend getting a Kindle Fire HD if you are replacing a Kindle or if you need a good solid tablet at the $199 price point. However, if price is not an issue then step up and get an iPad.

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Summer Movie Recap – A Season for Sequels

Now that the summer is drawing to a close, I thought I would post about my three favorite movies from the summer movie season. Top of the list was The Dark Knight Rises. While the movie was not as good as The Dark Knight, it was well worth watching. The story held your attention and made you care about what was going on and Tom Hardy was a great Bane. The Dark Knight was a really great movie and this installment was not in that league, but if you haven’t seen it make sure you do. It’s a good idea to catch up on Batman by watching Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before you see it so that you’re all caught up.

Second on my list was The Bourne Legacy. This was another action packed film in the Bourne series. You really need to watch the first three movies before seeing this one. This movie and the last one overlap in timelines so you will miss a lot if you haven’t seen the last movie before seeing this one. I liked the action a lot, but didn’t really care for the idea that these special agents were special due to taking drugs to amp up their performance. It wasn’t a part of the books or a part of the original movies. I wish they had made up something better as the central plot line. But in any case, the movie delivers on the action front with lots of chase scenes and fights. The last chase scene seemed to remind me of Terminator 2 or 3 where the first gen terminator must battle a more advance Terminator model. They should have brought this out earlier as it would have given the movie more direct conflict earlier on. Bottom line is that if you liked the first three Bourne movies, you’ll like this one too.

The last movie on my list is The Hunger Games. I put this on the list mostly because the story line is pretty good and they did a nice job with showing what they could in the compressed timeline of a movie version of a book. It’s worth seeing, but a much better performance of the book is the audiobook book version of The Hunger Games. I loved the audiobook version and couldn’t wait to listen to the last two books in the series. If you have to choose between seeing the movie and listening to the audiobook, get the audiobook – it’s just better.

The last one I want to mention, is the trailer for Les Miserables. That looks really good, but we will have to wait for Christmas for that release.

That’s my short list. What were your favorite movies of the summer?

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Choice and Consequence

Romney chooses Ryan. I hope the consequence is we end up spending more time talking about what to do about Medicare, tax reform,, video watch and download, deficits and size/role of government, and spend less time on silly stuff like tax returns and birth certificates.

If that’s the result, then Romney just did us all a big favor.

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