2014 Starting off Right

January 3rd, 2014 by Micky Keck No comments »

So far everything is going right this year, my Spartans won the Rose Bowl and will most likely end up #2 in the nation when the final polls come out. The family was all good when I left Las Vegas on Dec 31st, and my house didn’t freeze while we were gone.

If everything moves along as planned 2014 should be an exciting year, I can’t wait to see what happens.

New Project: Shrinking Myself

May 5th, 2013 by Micky Keck No comments »

About a month ago I decided that I needed to shrink my size, primarily because I am too cheap to buy bigger clothes, but also just to get a little healthier.  My plan was pretty simple, just take in less calories, specifically about 1800 calories a day.  No additional exercise, no specific foods, no other things that would require a major lifestyle change.  I should note that, like most people, I have tried this in the past.  My most recent attempt utilized the P90x with calorie control.  The P90x worked and I did lose weight, and got into better shape than I had been in for years, but the time commitment required was not easily sustainable over a long period of time.


So after about a month of executing my simple plan, my results have been pretty good.  I dropped as much weight (if not more) than the P90x, and I feel like I actually have a shot at continuing this for the long term.  The lifestyle impact is fairly small, just eat a little less each day, and takes basically no effort on my part.  Now many people would say that by not working out I am losing muscle as well as fat so the progress is not as useful as a more well rounded program.  They are probably correct, but I don’t care.  Doing something that is sustainable is better than something I would have little chance of continuing to do over the long term.

There is one major thing that I think I have learned that really drives the weight lose:  Don’t Drink Beer.

Now this is rather challenging for me since I like my beer, but I am pretty convinced now that drastically reducing beer intake has made the most difference in my progress.  Cutting out Diet Dr Pepper?  No change.  Vitamins and supplements? No change.   Eliminate beer?  Big change.

I’ll continue to update my progress over time, but I think I have found the key to shrinking myself.

Settlers of Catan Tip

March 10th, 2013 by Micky Keck No comments »

Anyone who plays Settlers of Catan a lot knows that the version 4 board is not exactly robust. To solve that problem, I purchased the following items:

Blank tiles to use as backers to the existing tiles that I already have.  We used a little Elmers glue to attached the tiles. The we added a new boarder, the combination of the 2 items made the game solid as a rock and eliminating time spent correcting random tile shifts that throws off roads and settlements.  The pieces are not wood, but the are very solid and should hold up for many years of regular use.

Yes, the cost of these 2 items is basically the same as buying another game, but since we break out Settlers pretty often it was worth the cost.

Channel 12 Story on the Rustyball

June 7th, 2012 by Micky Keck No comments »

Check out this news clip that our partners at Channel 12 did on the Rustyball

Cutting the Cord on Directv

May 22nd, 2011 by Micky Keck No comments »

Back in February we pulled the plug on DirecTV and went 100% over the air and internet for our TV viewing. The results to date have been very positive, and the savings are adding up. We went from around $100/month down to about $17 (Netflix and Hulu+), I already was paying the $50/month for my high speed internet connection, so I do not add that to new expense list.  We also had the one time cost of about $200 for a new video card and tv tuner for the old PC we pressed into service to drive our main TV.

We have found that our viewing habits did indeed change, both in the quantity (less) and the actual shows that we watch.

» Read more: Cutting the Cord on Directv

Detroit Lions stun fans with 2nd straight excellent 1st round pick

April 29th, 2011 by Micky Keck No comments »

Lions fans everywhere were stunned last night when the franchise continued down the path of building a real football team. After year (some might say decades) of wasted high draft picks, the Lions put the rest of the NFL on notice that they would no longer tolerate running backs amassing 200+ yards in the first half. With the pick of Auburn’s Nick Fairley the team should put one of the best D-Lines in the NFL on the field for the 2011 season.

Every year fans try to predict how the Lions will screw-up their draft, assuming that the team will pick yet another dysfunctional wide receiver or too small linebacker, but with Matt Millan’s reign of terror ended breaking decades of futility is hard to accept.

When fan Steve from Monroe, MI learned of the pick his reaction was of confusion, “At first I thought they drafted Chris Farley, you know the dead comedian, which would make a lot of sense, but then I realized that they actually picked a football player.  You one who isn’t dead, looks sort of mean, and actually plays on the line of scrimmage.”

Kevin, a fantasy football expert predicted that the pick will generate some interest in fantasy drafts, “Normally the Lions defense is only selected as a joke for people who show up late to the draft, but this year I may actually have to learn how to spell Detroit os I can log an actual selection.”

NFL Network and ESPN analysts all rated the draft pick an A+, tied with 31 other NFL teams for the highest grade available.  This is a dramatic change from the drafts of the past where the best the Lions could score was a B due to drafting wide receivers with every pick.

Fans are still taking a wait and see attitude with the rest of the draft, hoping the team will fill the glaring needs on the Offensive Line and Cornerback.  The recently completed fan draft has the Lions projected to take a punter in the second round, reaching in the third round to take one of those kids who runs on the field to remove the kickoff tee, and wrapping up with a new waterboy.

Big Ten Football Champs banner raised at MSU

April 16th, 2011 by Micky Keck No comments »

Looking forward to more of these in the coming years.

On Thursday, a Big Ten Championship banner was installed abov... on Twitpic

3:30 AM and Still Awake

February 20th, 2011 by Micky Keck No comments »

I just returned from yet another trip to Asia, this time training in the Philippines for 2 weeks, and I get to battle the jet lag monster once again.   Michigan State was playing the late game last night, so I neglected my normal routine of taking a OTC sleeping pill at a reasonable time, plus I missed my brain’s cut-off time for passing out; leaving me in no-man’s land of sleep.

Readjusting to my home time zone is always priority one when I return from a trip because until I do I struggle staying awake and productive after about 1 PM.  And this will last at least a week if not resolved quickly.  For me a couple days of about 10 to 12 hours sleep starting at about 9PM will pass the jet lag pretty quickly and return me to normal working order.

This is the biggest drag to traveling overseas, the destruction of productivity on each end of the trip.  The first couple days in the new country are just as worthless as the first couple of days back.  I’m not very good at sleeping on the plane, so using that time just doesn’t work for me.

The good news is this should be my last trip for the foreseeable future.  This will give me time to post more on this site, plus work on generating some new projects.  My goal will be to generate a new post at least every other day, I think I have a lot of good information to share, I just need more practice getting it out of my head and on to the blog.

Project Just About Done

January 31st, 2011 by Micky Keck No comments »

After 3 long years my project is just about to end, one last trip to do the knowledge transfer to our long-term support team, which got me thinking.

Do all companies have problems with transition from a project to long-term support?  I imagine they might as the skills for executing the initial design and implementation are different from support and break-fix.  Unless there is a strong incentive for the project manager to build a strong support center, it won’t get done well.

Why, because the some of the best staff for the long-term support is sitting directly on the project team.

How do you fix this?  Make one of the early deliverables a executable support plan that includes complete staffing details so that the business can support itself  from the first moment of need.  Doing this will ensure that early users will not have to suffer bugs and process inefficiencies until the project is complete, plus there will be far less wear and tear on the team trying to execute the project and support users at the same time (note to all, unless the project is wayyyy overstaffed, there is no good way to move forward with the project and support users.)

Lots of traveling, Talent Management Thoughs

September 19th, 2010 by Micky Keck No comments »

Since my last post, I have been on 5 different continents and turned SAP on for 2.  This forced me to stop writing for a while until things calmed down a little bit.

One thing that all of this activity reminded  me is that you can never have enough high-end talent on your team.  There is a very limited amount of talented people available and the more you have the better chance of success you will have, especially on large complex projects like a SAP implementation.  The amount of problems that come up are enormous and having great people to work them to resolution is critical.

If you want to succeed it is critical to learn how to identify talent, retain it, and develop more every day.

While this may sound easy, in reality it is not.  There is a reason many people use the term “5 Percenter”, as this is the amount of truly high-end talent that is available.  Getting these people and creating an environment where they can thrive is critical.

What do these people typically want:

  • Challenging work
  • Ownership of their work
  • Competent team members to work with
  • Everyone being held accountable
  • Opportunities to grow, both personally and professionally
  • Positive relationships with their leaders
  • Consistency in goals and vision
  • Fair compensation for their level of contribution

Not all of these are needed, but if too many of these are missing, there is no way that real talent will want to be a part of your organization.