One-Up

It wasn’t until I was in college that I found out one of our family secrets that both my Grandfather and Great Grandfather were on the initial construction crew for Disneyland.

It’s one of those things that when you tell someone you get one of two responses: “Yeah, Right!” or “Wow, Neat!”, though the first response is usually silently spoken behind a polite smile.

My grandpa would come home from work and try to describe what they were building and the details that went into it. Nobody at the time could understand what he was talking about “Your building a … castle? For real? You built a … tree? Why not just plant one?” He and Disney actually had a personal relationship as well. Disney would sit on one of the docks for lunch. None of the other construction workers felt comfortable enough, but my grandpa would sit right next to him and have lunch together talking about families and dreams.

Disneyland has far more educational value than half the school slums in our country, but you have to dig for it. Try reading a few books on how Disney performed his work before the next time you visit… or just to learn a few tips and pointers to improve your own personal business and achievements. Our family favorite is the “One-Up”.

When Disney walked into a room to see the story boards (a concept he invented and everyone uses today) he would listen to people’s ideas and envision something fantastic. When it came down to building the parts, whether it was a ride in an amusement park or a frame still for a movie, he would look at it and say to the engineers and artists … “That’s great. Now one-up it.” One-up means to overachieve… to excel.

When we build something we get stuck in the forest and can’t see it through the trees. When we step back we can see areas of improvement. “One-Up” means changing how we see things for a minute… to step out of our mind, or to step into a fresh mind depending on how you view it … and making the experience better.

With the common proverb (by Julius Caesar) that “experience is the greatest teacher”, it makes sense that walking through one of the greatest creations of the greatest teacher of details, magic and experience (speaking of Disneyland and Disney) would lend to teaching a thing or two.

The problems with paperless geocaching

Those with GPS receivers know the problems of their devices all too well.

It’s frustrating when your unit claims that you’re just a few feet from ground zero just to have the GPS suddenly jump and say you’re 20 feet away in the opposite direction… then you walk to the new coordinates to have it jump again saying your now 50 feet away in a different direction altogether.

This dance involves staring down at the GPS while blindly walking in circles that could include stepping into piles of excrement or into oncoming traffic. The problem could be blamed on signal echos or signal obstruction, both which make sense in areas with dense trees or tall buildings, but the root of the issue is too much dependence on the electronic device.

Such was my fate last weekend. It’s okay now … the gummy fecal canine deposits have been kicked, scraped and walked off … but as a result I’ve decided to review the rudimentary way I work the caches.

I know a couple of geocachers who worked almost solely off of printed maps. The maps had handwritten scribbles and notes to suppliment the printed Geocache codes and pins. We drove or walked about locating the next item on the list, but navigated solely off printed maps. This has me thinking about the printed map advantages:

  1. Better planning
    By planning what you plan to do, you’ll be better prepared. Are there caches in the woods? Bring hiking gear. Are they in the city? Wear walking shoes.
  2. Less chance of overzealous hunting
    Knowing that there are ten other caches on the map, hunters are less likely to spend an hour on one difficult to find cache.
  3. More attention to the environment and surroundings
    Instead of going strictly off of coordinates, there was more observation work going on.
  4. No accidental puzzle caches
    Some cache owners accidentally put the wrong category icon for the cache. Going off of the iPhone app, the result is spending time to get to a location then, after ten minutes of searching around, reading the details to find out it’s a puzzle cache. However, if you prepared the trip through a printed map, you don’t depend on instant information so you have to print all that information out at the time, meaning you likely noticed this snafu beforehand and either solve the puzzle before heading out, or don’t waste your time going to the original coordinates… either way makes a happier outing.

On our next outing we’ll try the other extreme and put away our GPS receivers, using a purely printed approach and report what happens. Stay tuned.

Wine App Mini-Review

I’ve been looking for an app that allows me to capture the essence of wines that I’ve tasted, display the results of others for wines I haven’t tasted, view the label, the price and the wine maker’s description in a clean interface. Data input must be easy and, because of the nature of wine, must have access to an extensive database. I would also insist on the ability to back up the data.

In the journey to find such an application, I’ve come across a good number of wine apps. Indeed, there are over 100 free wine apps in the app store, though I haven’t tested nearly half of them. I thought it might be of interest to others, as well as a brief documentation for myself, to post the brief findings of wine apps that I’ve toyed with. This post is a work in progress and has incomplete data. It will be updated as time allows. One of the most disturbing lack of features is the ability to back up your database. Without that ability it’s impossible to reach a 5 star rating. Nobody wants to spend hours scanning labels, entering their taste experiences and typing in their inventory to get it erased.

App Properties Notes My Rating
Wine Events

by Local Wine Events.com

Wine Tasting Events Calendar Shows wine and beer tasting events in cities around your area.
 
NY Wine & Food Pairings

by New York Wine and Grape Foundation

General Wine Reference Guide

Food and Wine Pairings Guide
Shows grapes, wine flavors and food pairings. General wine information.
Wine Ph.D.
General Wine Reference Guide

Wine Restaurant/Winery Search

Food and Wine Pairings Guide

Wine News

Search and Browse by Winery, Varietal, Region and Pairing

Wine Ph.D. Ratings

Lists Average Cost of Wine

Displays Wine Label Images

Displays Winemaker Notes

Allows Personal Wine Inventory Database

Stores Personal Wine Tastings
Interface is attractive, but a bit touchy. Feels like it tries to be too much, which can complicate the flow, but handles the various jobs well.
Hello Vino
Food and Wine Pairings Guide

Occasion and Wine Pairings Guide

Wine Reviews

Search by Varietal, Price, Vintage, Region, Rating, State and Stock (based on wine.com)
Browse by Pairing

Wine Ratings

Wine Prices

Shopping (wine.com)

Displays Wine Label Images

Displays Winemaker Notes

Twitter and Facebook integration
Appears to be based off of the wine.com database. Browsing is very limited. Intended to help you find a wine by pairing or find a pairing by wine.
Noble Wine
General Wine Reference Guide Strictly a reference or learning app that teaches the basics of wine and its styles, types, making, laws and composition. No images.
Tesco Wine Finder

by Tesco.com

Wine search By Scanning Label (but very limited in its findings)

Shake for Random Wine

Provides Wine Prices and shopping (tesco.com)

Displays Wine Labels

Displays Winemaker Notes
Although you can search by scanning the label, it’s very limited in its findings. There’s a selector that allows you to pick characteristics of wine, then it searches for a random wine in its database that matches that criteria. It’s an interesting idea, but without a huge google-esque database of wine labels and without a faster image recognition algorithm, it’s pretty destined to fail. I.E. it’s a novelty app, but not very useful.
Corkbin

by Inmite

Requires an account

Food and Wine Pairings Guide

Wine Reviews and Ratings by other Corkbin Users

Browse Wine by Friend or Vicinity

Displays Wine Labels

Stores Personal Wine Tastings

Integrates with Twitter, Facebook and Blogs
This app is intended to make wine tasting into a social network product of its own. You taste wine, take a picture of the label and share your experience in a short sentence. People follow each other like twitter.
iWine Journal
Personal Wine Inventory DB

Stores Personal Wine Tastings
Very basic app that stores your typed in values for wines you have tasted.
Grape-It
Personal Wine Inventory DB

Stores Personal Wine Tastings
Like iWine Journal, this is a very basic app that stores your typed in values for wines you have tasted.
Wine Notes

by William Lindmeier

Searches and Browses wines you’ve entered

Personal Wine Inventory DB

Stores Personal Wine Tastings
Comprehensive Wine Inventory app. You can’t search the internet for a wine and copy it into your inventory, but it has some fantastic properties. For example, you can move sliders until the color on the screen mimics that of your wine. You also have some keen sliders in the profie. You also have nearly 60 flavors to build a combination from. I would almost call this one of the best wine inventory apps out there, but I have yet to try some of the competition.