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Four Stages of the Game

Seth Godin says there are four stages to every “game” that we play in life. These are projects and activities in which we are involved. We even use game-like labels for some of these: the dating game, the corporate ladder, the rat race. I’d never before thought of them directly as games that could be played.

  1. You don’t even realize there’s a game.
  2. You start getting involved and it feels like a matter of life or death.
  3. You realize that it’s a game and you play it with strategy.
  4. You get bored with the game, because you’ve seen it before.

I’ve read Seth’s short article several times and wondered about myself. I’ve started to recognize these stages in the games that I “play” at work and home. Looking back, I see myself mostly in stage two: caring a lot about the outcome and stressing that things aren’t going well.

More recently, I see myself being able to step into stage three at times: not taking things so personally, being willing to change my behavior and conversation to be more effective. Stage three is certainly less stressful.

Occasionally, I’ve hit stage four and moved on. I felt like I’d learned all that I would and lost interest in continuing. Not giving up in frustration. More like losing interest in continuing to do something at which I already excelled.

Mostly, I wish for more than this. I’d love the passion and enthusiasm of stage two with the lower stress of stage three in a game that avoids the boredom of stage four. Marriage and family can be this way. Work has the potential as well, though the nature of corporations seems to work against it at times.


200 Million iPads

About a month ago, I mentioned in a meeting at work (and later tweeted) that I believed Apple would sell about 200 million iPads by the end of 2012. Brief awkward silence. Then I was asked to send out the details of how I’d arrived at that number.

Honestly, at that point, I’d just eyeballed the sales trends. As I opened up a spreadsheet, I really hoped my estimate would hold up. :)

The first iPad went on sale on April 3, 2010. Here are Apple’s official iPad sales numbers:

At this point, we only have one year-over-year growth number for comparison. That’s fairly weak evidence on which to predict the future. But this is just for fun and games, right?

Assuming that the growth rate remains consistent, here is what iPad sales will look like:

  • Jul to Sep 2011: 11.8 million (actual result was 11.1 million)
  • Oct to Dec 2011: 20.7 million (actual result was 15.4 million)
  • Jan to Mar 2012: 13.2 million
  • Apr to Jun 2012: 26.1 million
  • Jul to Sep 2012: 33.3 million
  • Oct to Dec 2012: 58.4 million

Estimated iPad sales through 2012

192 million iPads by the end of 2012. Apple is selling every iPad they can make so these numbers may be limited by Apple’s ability to meet demand.

Put another way, here are the yearly totals:

  • 2010: 14.8 million
  • 2011: 46.4 million (actual result was 40.1 million)
  • 2012: 131.0 million

That’s the beginning of a very fast growth curve. There are a few others who agree.

Apple will report their next financial results in mid-October. Then we’ll have two data points.

Disclosure: I now own some AAPL stock.


Ron Paul for President (Again)

Ron Paul is again running for president. This short video of Ron Paul explaining his foreign policy views is exactly why we need him as president. No other candidate in either party has the integrity and vision to advocate for peace and liberty over war and killing.

On another note, if you are familiar with LDS culture I really recommend this hilarious set of jokes about “How Mormon is Mitt Romney”. The jokes could be equally applied to any LDS presidential candidate. :)


Quote: Helen Keller

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Learning to ride a motorcycle, working yourself out of a job, asking someone you don’t know out on a date, traveling overseas, braving TSA agents at the airport — there’s quite a rush to living life as a daring adventure.


Zen Habits: Lessons Learned

Leo Babauta wrote an article at Zen Habits describing 38 life lessons he’s learned in 38 years. He explains each point. Many resonated strongly with me. Worth taking a moment to read and consider.

2. Possessions are harmful.
3. Slow down. Rushing is rarely worth it. 5. The moment is all there is.
6. When your child asks for your attention, always grant it.
13. You will miss a ton, but that’s OK.
14. Mistakes are the best way to learn.
15. Failures are the stepping stones to success.
16. Rest is more important than you think.
17. There are few joys that equal a good book, a good walk, a good hug, or a good friend. All are free.
19. The destination is just a tiny slice of the journey.
20. A good walk cures most problems.
21. Let go of expectations.
22. Giving is so much better than getting.
27. The world is full of distractions, but very few are as important as creating.
29. Don’t sit too much. It kills you. Move, dance, run, play.
33. Do less. Throw out the checklists and focus on what you love.
37. You’ll shy away from doing great things, from going on new adventures, from creating something new and putting it out in the world, because of self-doubt and fear. Do it anyway, because they are wrong.

The earliest comment I can remember my then future wife making is, “Giving is the best gift anyone can receive.” She’d bought someone else lunch on her own birthday. Her happy attitude was one of the main reasons I (eventually) asked her out.


Free DNS Hosting Performance Tests

UPDATE May 2011: Namecheap’s DNS service has recently experienced two outages: one due to a denial of service attack and the other caused by a misconfigured DNS entry at another registrar. Their service is relatively new, so I hope they handle these types of issues better in the future. I appreciate the honesty and openness with which they have reported these issues. ClouDNS is also experiencing intermittent downtime, but has not mentioned anything.

UPDATE July 2013: A few months ago, I switched to using CloudFlare’s Free plan. I’m really happy with the service, which is faster than what I’ve been using before. And I really like using a company specializing in DNS security and performance. SolveDNS’s DNS Speed Comparison Report agrees. Highly recommended.


Way back in April 2009, I read two articles about using Pingdom to test hosted DNS services. Pingdom has a limited free account, includes several types of web-related performance tests and has test servers in over 25 locations throughout North America and Europe. I started using it immediately and have been very pleased with their product and service.

I’ve been wanting to test the performance of hosted DNS services that include at least one domain for free. Two years later, I finally got around to it. All tests were done with my own domain name.

Each test covered eight days (except Afraid, which I ended early after six). I would have preferred to run the tests concurrently over a longer period of time. If I missed anyone, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

NameUptimeResponseStd DevNotes
Namecheap100.00%82 ms175 msIncludes free email forwarding.
ClouDNS100.00%93 ms319 msExcellent user interface.
Moniker100.00%114 ms248 ms*** Included with domain registration. ***
ZoneEdit99.65%91 ms280 ms
GeoScaling99.78%103 ms332 ms
XName100.00%117 ms325 ms
DNS Exit99.98%256 ms1025 ms
FreeDNS100.00%187 ms530 msWebsite down for days recently. No comment on why.
Afraid80.45%223 ms1022 msSub-domain sharing. Down 4 mins every 19.

I recommend Namecheap and ClouDNS. If you are willing to pay for DNS services, there may be faster and more reliable options. I’d love to try out easyDNS and DynDNS but neither have a free option.

Here are the charts to give you a visual idea of the test results. Pingdom needs to allow customers to control the vertical scale. I’m just too lazy to make my own charts using their cool API. :)


Namecheap performance results


ClouDNS performance results


Moniker performance results


ZoneEdit performance results


GeoScaling performance results


XName performance results

DNS Exit

DNS Exit performance results


FreeDNS performance results


Afraid performance results


The Homeless Woman

Received via email:

A woman was walking down the street when she was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked her for a couple of dollars for dinner.

The woman took out her wallet, extracted ten dollars and asked, “If I give you this money, will you buy some wine with it instead of dinner?”

“No, I had to stop drinking years ago,” the homeless woman replied.

“Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?” the woman asked.

“No, I don’t waste time shopping,” the homeless woman said. “I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.”

“Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?” the woman asked.

“Are you nuts?” replied the homeless woman. “I haven’t had my hair done in 20 years!”

“Well,” said the woman, “I’m not going to give you the money. Instead, I’m going to take you out for dinner with my husband and myself tonight.”

The homeless woman was astounded. “Won’t your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I’m dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting.”

The woman replied, “That’s okay. It’s important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments and wine.”