Thursday, March 15, 2007


The past several weeks have been quite hectic. If you've been watching, you may have noticed that I've made fewer entries here over the past month or two than I normally do. It's been tough to get the time to sit down write. My payroll at work has been significantly reduced (company-wide, not just in my store), my market has been assigned to a new District Manager, I've had an internal theft investigation that resulted in the termination of an admittedly dishonest employee, winter happened (yeah, that caused some chaos, too), and I'll soon be forced to convert most of my full time staff to part time status to further cut costs. On top of all of that, I was notified on Monday that I have to have all yearly performance appraisals written by this Saturday. That's five days to write them from start to finish. I have thirteen direct reports that I have to write for, and each one takes about an hour to do it right. That's more than a full shift of appraisal writing, and that would only be if I could sit down and do it without interruption. As it stands, I have all but two completed and ready to sign-off on and send to the next level for review.

So it's been quite a hectic time here in Nowhere, Indiana. But it hasn't all gone to waste. I've continued to put Average Joe Radio on a close to regular schedule. I even have several future episodes already in the works (or, at least, the planning stages), and things are going along strong. I've also added some new gadgets to the site that I think can really enhance the visitor experience.

What's New?

First, I've started placing Google Calendar Quick-links whenever I talk about an upcoming event that you might be interested in. Just one click and you'll have a reminder saved in your Google Calendar with whatever notification preferences you have set. And if you aren't already signed up for a Google account, signing up is just a few quick steps away from the Quick-link. And, might I suggest that you sign up for Gmail, as well, while you're at it?

But that's not all. Almost every post has always had a link to send me an email, but that's so 2000, if you know what I mean. You can now find me on Google Talk anytime I'm online. Just click on over to Average Joe American, scroll down the page a little to the Google Talk gadget in the sidebar. Add AverageJoe.blogs to your contact list and, if I'm online, drop me a quick note. It's that simple. And all you have to do to keep the chat going is leave the site open in a background window or tab while you continue to surf.

And yet there's still more. A few episodes back, I decided to give my listeners the best possible sound quality I could give them in Average Joe Radio, so I started encoding most episodes at 192 kbps. Extremely long episodes may still be at 128 kbps when needed, but that shouldn't be too often. The problem is, with 192 kbps stereo MP3 files there can be rather lengthy download times. Even on broadband, with my bandwidth provider, the downloads can sometimes be slow. I can't really expect much more without forking out some cash for the bandwidth, now can I. So, I discovered a nice fix. At the very top of the sidebar at both the main page and the podcast page, you will now find an MP3 streamer, courtesy of Google and Odeo. Just one click and the latest episode of Average Joe Radio will start streaming through your PC speakers almost immediately. No more lengthy downloads if you plan to listen from your desktop.

In addition to the video material I get from YouTube and Google Video, I've started adding an occasional video from Wall Street Journal Online. Now I have access to a much wider array of video content.

I know this probably sounds like a big Google ad, but what else can i say? I'm a satisfied Google user. I use Blogger to host the site, Google Docs to write many of the posts, Google search, and every one of the other Google products mentioned here, just to name a few.

What I really wanted to say today was this: even when you might not see frequent posts on the site, I'm always working behind the scenes to make things better for my readers and listeners. I hope you enjoy your time here, and if there's anything else you'd like to see worked into the site, just drop me a line and let me know.


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