Play Balloon Brigade to Find Your Strengths as a Worker

Balloon BrigadeHere is an online game that I am playing. My task: To water my flowers and to defend my “contraption”, on the right side of the screen, from the burny thingies that march over the hill from the left. My weapon: water balloons that I can fill on my contraption (until they sometimes burst) and flip (with a swipe of my finger) at the hot enemy hordes, thus extinguishing them. The challenges vary. Sometimes, there are just a few fiery intruders. If I throw high and hard enough, I can catch them as they first enter my space. Sometimes, though, I miss them. They toast my flowers and come right up to the foot of my contraption, trying to burn it down. No time to fully fill balloons then. Just a quick squirt and then fling, fling, fling the flaccid bags down to protect the contraption base.

How well I performed, through sixteen challenges, may offer a clue to where my strengths as a worker lie. Am I a strategic thinker? Am I quick? Do I think ahead to protect the flowers at my base when there is leisure to do so?

The game is called “Balloon Brigade”, available as a free iPad or iPhone download from Knack (, a San Francisco-based company that aims to analyze potential employee strengths based on game play.



Professor Bob Sutton offers advice about how to deal with jerks at work

Bob SuttonBob Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School, believes that managers and workers with negative, dysfunctional attitudes are a huge drain on organizational resources. He cites research that demonstrates that negative experiences are five times more powerful than positive ones. Power over others can blind us to our own boorish behavior. So, Sutton has written books to help businesses and other organizations become aware of their possible dysfunction: Good Boss, Bad Boss (2010) and The No Asshole Rule (Rev. ed. 2010).

Follow Sutton’s musings on his blog. Take his online test to see if you share the negative tendencies that make you a problem at work: The Asshole Rating Self-Exam, or ARSE (

Work Matters

Sew interactivity into your clothes with a LilyPad Arduino

LilyPad ArduinoSparkFun in Boulder, Colorado makes and sells the LiliPad Arduino, a flexible microcontroller that is designed to be installed in a fabric object. Designed by Dr. Leah Buechley, Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab, this bendy microprocessor can even be put through the washing machine. (Buechley made this “Turn Signal Bike Jacket” with it: The LiliPad Arduino costs between ten and thirty dollars, depending on its complexity. SparkFun also sells plenty of other helpful electronic bits and pieces. “Whether it’s a robot that can cook your breakfast or a GPS cat tracking device,” they write, “our products and resources are designed to make the world of electronics more accessible to the average person.” They offer online tutorials, too.


Martha Stewart teaches correct cleaning techniques

Martha Stewart cleaning tipsYou may have been doing your own laundry for years. Still, Martha Stewart offers tips on how to do it better. “Turn delicate items, sweaters, and cotton T-shirts inside out,” she suggests, “to prevent pilling.” She also gives instructions for properly loading a dishwasher, vacuuming any surface, and a cleaning checklist for each season.

Martha Stewart Home & Garden

Two apps make writing on the iPad easy

IA Writer for IPadiA Writer for iPad
For less than a dollar, download this text capture app designed especially for iPad. It easily syncs files over Dropbox so you can access your work when you get back to your desktop computer. Writer saves your files in .txt format which can be imported into your regular word processing programs.

Who doesn’t love Dropbox, the easy way to store files in the cloud. Dropbox comes as a free iPad app. It works with iA Writer to make typing on the iPad a practical way to take notes. You can store your iPad photos there, too.