Entrepreneurial Leadership and Management . . . and Other Stuff

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Apr
27

The Vic Braden Tennis College

Last week, my wife and I spent time relearning the game of tennis at the Vic Braden Tennis College in St. George, Utah. I say relearning because the Vic Braden school is less about improving your current game than it is about changing your strokes and strategy to Vic’s way of thinking. That sounds bad, but it isn’t – at least not in my opinion. Vic is a psychologist by training, but he’s spent most of is life playing, coaching and studying professional and amateur tennis. He has researched the game and how it’s played (including using detailed slow motion photography, wireframe analysis and motion capture) thoroughly over the years and has loads of logical reasoning behind his way of playing it. While the changes he encourages are major for most people, they make a lot of sense and are somehow, easier to adopt because of it.

Vic, himself, videotapes each player several times during the session and then meets with small groups to explain what can be totally changed improved. At the end of the session, more taping is done to see what, if any, improvements were made. While Vic was very nice, my changes were almost imperceptible. Yeah, I gotta lot of work to do. 10,000 more balls for each stroke type and I may finally get it.

Vic is over 80 now and has a head full of tennis memories, fact and figures. He knows and works with all of today’s greats as he did with tennis legends in the past. He can tell stories about Roger Federer and Rod Laver and discuss details of their strengths and weaknesses as well what made them both different, but great champions. Braden is a complete crack-up too. He had us all laughing within minutes of our first meeting.

The Vic Braden Tennis College has other locations as well. We chose St. George so that we could spend some time hiking with friends in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks too.  The area is phenomenally gorgeous if you have the time and, more importantly, the energy to explore after Vic kicks the crap out of you.

If you’re a 5.0+ tennis player, you may not want your game entirely disassembled. If you’re playing below that level and feel like you plateaued years ago, this type of game upheaval may be just right for you. It’s a lot of fun and the instructors are very patient. I know, I tested them.

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 April 27th, 2010  
 Will  
 Sports  
   
 1 Comment
Apr
15

Yet Another iPad Review

Here at 2-Speed labs, I made an executive decision to forgo an acquisition of Apple’s latest uber-gadget, the iPad. The decision was made because of the product’s strange and questionable position in the computing spectrum between a phone and a laptop and because I always question whether an acquisition of yet another closed product from Apple is good for me or the world. Like I have any influence . . .

The argument on both counts was removed when I was given an iPad by the cool folks at AccuRev as a parting gift – I’m leaving the board there after five years. Thanks AccuRev, it was a very thoughtful gesture.

Like any gadget guy worth his salt, I have been playing with the device constantly since I got it 48 hours ago. While it’s position among the array of computing devices I have is still in question, the massive array of apps available out of the chute in combination with a slick piece of hardware make it, at the very least, a functional and cool toy. But I’m thinking that it’s more than that. Here’s the summary.

Cons:

  • It’s heavier than I would have expected, I can’t imagine reading a book on it. It would be uncomfortable to hold aloft very long. Additionally, the back is sorta slippery and the iPad easily slips from one’s grip if not held tightly.
  • Many (most) apps available are formatted for the smaller screen of the iPhone/iPod Touch. This is not an issue for some, but others don’t work well on the larger screen. The apps can pixel-replicated to the larger size, but they don’t look good. This should be resolved over time.
  • The keyboard layout is less than ideal. This is, of course, a preference thing, but like all things Apple, you get it with their preferences not yours. The apostrophe, for example is not on the main QWERTY keyboard page. That’s OK for texting, but not OK when entering longer text. I am typing this post on the iPad and it’s a bit painful.
  • The battery isn’t replaceable and there’s no Flash support. Duh, it’s an Apple product.
  • The glossy display makes reading text somewhat of a challenge in some lighting situations. The Kindle and Nook get this right – a matte screen is better for reading text.
  • Pros:

  • I’m surprised this isn’t mentioned more often – the battery life on this thing is simply amazing. I watched 3 hour long videos and did some web browsing and email and only used 10% of the battery (as reported by the device). Subsequent usage indicates that this level of consumption remains consistent.
  • The screen is 3 bears size. Not too large and not too small. Just right. Big enough to get a great view of media and small enough to be a reasonable size for convenience.
  • Most apps made for the iPad do a great job using the additional screen space (over what the iPhone offers). Many compromises made for size are abandoned leaving smartly laid out and functional applications.
  • Photos and video on the device are fantastic. Good screen size, lots of storage and a high resolution and glossy display make the visual experience a winner.
  • I think that the iPad is going to fill two roles for me. The first is as a way to show off my photos and to view videos when traveling and such – the media role. The second will be as a convenient device for reading email, checking blogs, perusing feeds and web browsing – the time vampire role. I can see using it when watching TV or just hanging around away from my desk. Is it necessary? Totally not. A laptop can do all that stuff. Would I buy one now knowing what I now know? Nope. It’s still not differentiated enough from a small laptop to make it worth the money. Since I already have one though, the combination of it’s convenience and it’s virtually infinite battery life make it pretty fun to use untethered and I’m gonna keep playing. Another Apple victim.

     April 15th, 2010  
     Will  
     Gadgets  
       
     4 Comments